The world was a giant surface of white and I stood in the middle of it, surrounded by nothing but wind and snow. Suddenly the imaginary path I was following turned red. I stopped and looked back for a second. The setting sun broke free near the horizon and painted everything red.
Snow and fire.
On the ground behind me, the footsteps I made just a minute ago started disappearing under the freshly fallen snow. It felt right, somehow.
The snow glittered, energized by strong winds and the last rays of sunlight of the day. It was a strange, calming sight; accompanied by thoughts of absolution and achievement. I have been waiting for this all my life, I realize that now.
Life entwined me with its own realities, plans and schemes, but this is what I was always meant to do. I guess I needed to grow older, collect all those little victories and defeats Life brings; experiences and memories; failures and lessons before I was ready to make such a radical step.
Of course now, standing here, looking at the summit I was visiting in my dreams so many times, the decision to abandon everything and come here doesn’t seem that radical or extreme. It feels… natural, as if Life led me here; as if I would have ended up here anyway in the end.
I smiled, remembering how scared I was, so many times.
Our lives feel so real, of course I was scared. All that struggle, to succeed, to excel, to build a career, to earn more money, to prove yourself worthy in society’s eyes – it all feels so real, so right, so meaningful. Until you realize it’s not. Until you gather the courage to step out if it, follow the comforting sounds in your heart. It is just one step, frightening and seemingly impossible, but once you make it; you never want to go back.
I have waited for 55 years and almost lost my chance. First, I was too young, I wanted my place in the world; too deaf to listen to what my heart was really saying and too eager to prove what I was capable of, to myself and others. Then there was a wife, a house, children, career. Most of it was beautiful, rich and fulfilling. There were moments of such power and so much love I thought my heart would burst. There were moments of such despair I saw no light and no reason to live.
That, I know it now, is the biggest power of Life â€“ it all feels so real it is next to impossible to get out of its shackles. It is real until you are ready to listen to the voice in your heart telling you there is more to it than what you think; much more than what everyone else around you is telling you; much more that most of the people ever thinks.
I was 55 when that voice became louder than the noise of what I though Life was. My wife died in a car accident a year before; my children all grown up, busy with their own illusions; drowning their dreams in shallow lakes of everyday.
I was sitting in my kitchen, surrounded by stuff I was gathering and fighting for all my life. It was snowing outside and I could feel the streets being covered by those soft, fluffy white flakes of frozen rain. A hot cup of tea in front of me kept my fingers warm. It was just a normal day, I realized. Just like all these yesterdays, people outside were waking up, had their breakfasts and went to work. Some women stayed home with the kids, some went out to shop, and some worked. Some men worked, some got fired, some just ley in their beds. Kids were playing, crying, running and jumping. World’s heartbeat went on as it always did.
As I watched the snowflakes melting on my window, and wondered where they were yesterday, the scale of it all hit me. It was just a thought, but I realized we are reducing life to such a small, insignificant scale, and make so much fuss over it. Every single day.
For the first time ever, I allowed myself to be overwhelmed by everything around me. I tried to sense the scale of this world, to feel everything that was happening this very instant only on this planet. That very thought set me free.
I made no calls, I sent no letters, wrote no emails. I sold the house; burnt all the bridges. I said my goodbyes silently and just left. I had an image in my head, of a snow-covered mountain tops that barely ever fell the touch of a human foot. I had the image of a freedom I denied myself for lifetimes and now, for the first time ever, I’m ready to stare at its face.
My journey has finally begun.