The light is disappearing.
Fading fast, I feel the need to follow it. I have to see where it’s going. But it’s too late. It’s too dark. I’ll never catch it.
My mind takes over as soon as she tells me she’s never slept in a tent before. I realize at this moment that we both expect the other to take care. To take charge. But she is Mom and I am me. The comfort of this joy ride begins to fade as fast as the light.
We can’t do this.
As we pull into our campsite, I unknowingly take charge. Time comes to a standstill as instinct pulls us into the present moment. In this heightened state of awareness, my mind is no longer in control. We must do this.
Within minutes, our home for the night looks more comfortable than the last real bed I slept in. How did we set that up so quickly? Memory lost, I give into our new peace and watch her settle in for the night. The bright blue and yellow tent shines in the glow of the evening as if waiting for us there all along.
Out of nowhere, a flashlight beams in the distance, calling to me through the trees. In this instant, in the valleys of the Shenandoah Mountains, I realize my mind’s fear of darkness is a complete lie. The golden hour has just begun. I walk toward it, and away from her.
As my feet follow the flash, I can hear the fire crackling behind me and I smile proudly knowing we did that. I feel its warmth and her comfort even from way over here. My mind says I am safe so I keep going.
But then again.
“Why leave when this space is so comfortable and safe?” “Soon it will be too dark to see anyway. Don’t go. Just stay.”
Leaves crunching under each step I take, the fear to walk further begins to fade. As darkness descends, the light moves faster, fighting for the last bit of space between. Time stands still again and I begin to see the path illuminate beneath my feet. Now the warmth of the fire is gone and no longer am I comforted by her. Yet not far from this fear.
I sense a bright opening beyond the trees.
And I know at this moment, I’ve lit the path that will show it to me, in time.
Danielle Werner, 2015
A visual, written, and recorded story.
Click below to listen.