By Maris Pái
The first lesson, She said, is to look at the path before you:
None of this eyes-downcasted fear. No more stomach-clenched dread
Of all the things you don’t and can’t know. Because, Little One,
all the things you don’t and can’t know are legion and I will not
have one of my own flinching at shadows. Look at your path
and do not cower. Square your shoulders and
lift your chin. Have you not realized your own strength by now?
There are as many paths to the Tree as there are stars in the sky:
it matters less which you choose than that you have chosen
and been chosen and that you continue to choose
to put one foot in front of the other and walk the road ahead of you.
Sometimes you will walk on razor-blades, each step an agonized trudge,
and sometimes you will run, eager to reach that which lies ahead, or
eager again to flee that which came before. The dragons you do not slay
may chase you down later and find you unguarded: Better to face them
the first time and not be tripped up later and find that the smoke ahead
is not a friendly bonfire or hearth but new immolation.
I am in the staff by your side and your backbone and your feet
and I am the falcon soaring high above, leading you to the rising sun
and dazzling your eyes when what your focus should be is the journey
and not the potholes.
The First Lesson: Maris Pái
HUGINN v1.2 Midsummer 2011; “The Work”