Fire Tower

Sturdy and strong, gleaming and majestic
Atop Sunset Mountain she beckons
An elusive beacon – a trailhead on a jagged journey
Taunting us with all things promised and possible

We set off with vigor and vows
Allegiances of cooperation and realization
Bloodbrothers on a life’s journey
To that lonely marker on a barren hill

To each, the end holds different truths
The quest fraught with sadness and madness
Trodding parallel paths that never seem to touch
We hug closely for fear they will diverge

At times our compass leading us astray
Directionless – magnetic north be damned
The river flows and the sun dips
But are they guides or ghosts?

The earth beneath our boots trampled and worn
Run roughshod by those I never knew
Curse them for leaving their ugly footprints
On our beautiful journey, place and time

Shadows begin to creep and a chill sets in
The legs buckle and the breath shortens
Where is the strong, youthful journeyman
Who once challenged the cirque and tested the tarn?

Gnarled tree roots trip up our step
Content on throwing off the scent
And leave us lumbering down this endless path
The tower out of sight and out of reach

A lone dharma bum with his sack and stick
Passes with a nod and quick hello
Seemingly aware of where and why he is
Just as quickly he turns the bend and disappears

The sun’s last rays illuminate my lids
I close my eyes and dream of the tower
Stark, barren, its skeletal frame exposed
Naked to the wind and all who seek it

I look to my comrade and he leads the way
Leaping across the crevasse and onto the vista
A view of the world and all its beauty
All its wonder, infinite possibilities and discoveries

And behind us, the secret of it all
The one thing that waited through toil and travail
That laid our path and led the way
Steadfast in her footings even as we stumbled

And so, on this day, at this time, at least
I revel in the sweet afterglow of shared experience
Of like mind, body and soul
Of visions envisioned and dreams dreamt

As we turn for home, a final glance back
At where we arrived and from whence we came
Each with our own emotional map and moral compass
Yet, in the end – absolution in the sun-drenched glory of discovery

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