Looking up, and up, and up, a gulp struggled to get through my extended throat. I lowered my head and gulped again. I couldn’t believe I was actually here. I couldn’t believe how hot it was, how dry. Thinking of how dry it was, I took out my canteen and took another sip of the precious water.
‘No time like the present.’ I mumbled, lifting my heavy skirts, adjusting the canvas pack on my back, and tapping the walking stick on the trail in front of me. I figured if I tapped hard enough, then any snakes would venture away before I had a chance to see them and break the silence with a blood-curdling scream. I was here, after all. I’d been walking for years it seemed, just to find this hidden relic of the past.
I paused to catch my breath and looked up again. The cliff was so intimidating. I didn’t see how on earth I was ever going to make it up there. But I would! I hadn’t walked all the way from Ohio just to give up now, not when I was so close. My heart pounded painfully in my chest and my breathing was more like a continual gasp for air. No, I wouldn’t let either keep me from my goal. Not today.
Slowly, and with more stops than I cared to think about, I made my way up the narrow trail. Stamp, stamp, with my walking stick between each step. Puff, gasp, with aching lungs between moans of genuine pain that criss-crossed my chest and ran up my throat and down my arm until I thought I would surely pass out. I wasn’t going to give up, not today, not now, and most definitely not when I was so close. Then, I was there.
I smiled. I marveled at the view. I let my praises fill the silence with joy for God’s creation. It was beautiful… almost heavenly. I wanted to stay here until I drew my last living breath. And so, I did.
The Ancestor’s welcomed me home.