She opened the thatch door to her hut at the sound of logs dragging across the dirt through the center of the village. The sun was setting across the mountain range and the cold early-winter air was beginning to creep in. At this altitude, and time of year, the thick bear skin coat was already draped around her shoulders, but she pulled up the hood now as the wind whipped her red hair into a frenzy. The cold air pushed around the back of her neck as the delicate hairs on her skin stood on end.
Her neighbors were moving hastily between one another’s huts, some pulling sleds packed five feet high with all their belongings, tied down with massive hand woven ropes. Without hesitation she began to help her neighbors store their final necessities for a long journey, round up the kids running around, and secure any last minute sleds that had been clumsily packed in the rush to leave.
One after the other, the neighbors made their way down the mountain path that led up to their village, a stream of sleds and coats fading into the distance as the first stars began to come out. She walked beside a few of them and finally began to try and piece together what was scaring all her family and friends into a rush to leave the town. It was something that she didn’t even question before, her trust laying in the fact that everyone was moving the same direction.
“We’re about to run out of food!” one mother exclaimed, clutching her toddler’s hand in hers, pulling him along the path.
“We’re low on supplies,” another man moaned with exhaustion.
“Even all the candles have gone out,” said a third, a teenage boy just a few years younger than herself.
She made her way to the front of the crowd, now reaching a bend in the path where candles were put to guide the way, all extinguished. She raised her voice and asked, “but why are you leaving?”
The looks on the faces of her village were filled with confusion and even amusement, a seemingly stupid question to everyone who had already begun the journey to the next destination.
“Because there’s nothing left here. We need to move on,” said the same mother who had been so upset about the dwindling food.
The red-headed girl pulled a piece of flint from her coat and held it up to the candles along the path. With the flick of her wrist a spray of sparks filled the dusk sky. The candle wick sputtered once, twice, and the small flame that emerged steadily grew into the flickering sign post it was meant to be.
“You can refill the food and supplies. You don’t need to leave. See, you can even relight the candles. The first flame is just a precursor.”
* * *
I think this is my brain telling me that packing up all my shit and moving across the country 4 months into sobriety MAY have been a bad idea. My therapist thinks it’s saying that just because a whole part of my life is over, it doesn’t mean my life has ended, it just means that I now have the opportunity to restart it. And with much more wisdom and experience. Glass half full / half empty I suppose ;).