At the edge of a mountain of hope, a little voice pulses through the valleys of my heart: these days will amount to something. It is all for more than I know. We are too naive to pretend we know where we’re going and too foolish to pay attention to the signs. Even on uncharted hikes, in places no one dare visit, there is a wooden milestone, dilapidated but dangling, with directions, and if nothing else, then the distance ahead. It is not about where you’re going but whether you notice the signs and continue walking. And if there are no signs? Well, look harder, and if you cannot find them still, congratulate yourself. You are the first one here. You must do as the others have done; you must leave something behind. The next time someone feels lost, they will come across what you left, given it stands the test of time, and they will know. You will be their sign. There is no greater glory.
I am not so special, however. I know the road I walk has been walked a million times before. And all the signs tell me there is still a ways to go, but with every step, I get closer to the summit. If I have learned anything, it is this: there is only one instruction for walking—taking one step at a time. All else is philosophical tomfoolery. But one often feels lost even on charted roads, even on hikes with trodden paths that have begun to resemble city roads. Now and then, when I have walked far too long through the forest without a clearing in sight, I, too, feel the wave of doubt like all those who came before me. And then, out of nowhere, on a rock or a tree or a little signboard, you see, something is scribbled. It asks me to keep going, and so I comply cordially. And not too far from it is a clearing.
I found a clearing and a sturdy place to camp. I have caught my breath. How does it all look, you ask? It is the greenest clearing I have ever seen, and when it rains, flowers grow. But I would not have reached here without the signs and if I had not kept walking. And soon, I will begin walking again. There is still a long way to go. And just as I make my preparations, a whisper echoes through the forest: these days will amount to something. There is no bigger sign.