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STOIC POETRY | The road into night

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

Such a long hike to get here, now. The place where I set out from is invisible beyond those distant hills, a memory of setting out from a fine place into the wild. Why did I ever leave...for this waste? Why does every young person depart Eden into the east? We all go because we must, not due to exile, but because innocence is Original Sin. We are born with a failed compass pointing deep; directing us from the admonitions of fathers and mothers towards distant places seen shimmering against the desert horizon - places far from here, anywhere but here. And so we set out, hardly prepared; to walk at midday, confidence our only ration, youthful strength a feign, withstanding shelter below the sun. And we walk then alone into the open; emerging, maybe; broken and torn some years later where the mirage is found to be a dune of sand. Our garments are tatters, our face sallow and strained, our confidence replaced with fear and understanding - the remembered awareness of our fathers and mothers - and so we sit then beside some thin, trickling oasis, whispering "home" and vowing never again to roam.

Looking back, I can see better The uneven ground And dangerous footing Which the foresight of youth Did fail to reveal

But to some the journey has still just begun. We look back towards our footsteps lost in the blowing sand, and we smile faintly at the revealed brevity of each moment so far passed. Our torn garments remind us of the folly of cherished things, and the memory of our loved ones - now so far removed - caution us to never assume companionship is forever. What a journey this has been...from that place in our youth to this seeming waste. How much we have lost along the way which we did never need. How well reduced the burden of excess and superfluous self, what a lean and fortunate mortal we have become...

Where to next for the well broken traveler? Into which new horizon will they tread? How much less might we become along the way, and what more might we leave behind on the road into night?

What a good, unseen road.

Such a worthwhile passage of life.


My name is Kurt Bell.

You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.

Be safe... But not too safe.

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