Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Enter (02/27/06)
TITLE: The Road to Freedom
By Deanna Wessel
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There must be some kind of mistake. The simple instruction summons me, scratched with a black crayon on a piece of torn cardboard. The makeshift sign hangs askew, moving back and forth with the slightest breeze. Tied to a gnarly old wood post with a piece of frayed and dirty twine, it dangles unevenly. The marker stands next to the practically hidden entrance of an obscure footpath, nearly covered with twisted vines.
The gentleman from town told me to come this way—the man with the bright, dancing eyes and infectious smile. The man with the gentle spirit and kind heart had used his finger to draw a map for me in the dust. He’d found the road to Freedom and told me how to find it too. He said he’d traveled on it a great distance and had come back to tell others where to find it.
I carefully followed his directions. Go to the end of Main Street, turn right onto Side Street, and walk three blocks. Turn left on the pathway just beyond Mrs. Timmons flower garden. I did all that. I’ve gone exactly where the man said to go. He promised that the road to Freedom was here on the left, about fifty feet beyond the lower garden gate.
There must be some kind of mistake. This can’t be the right road. In fact, it doesn’t look like a road at all. It’s more like a narrow dirt path worn over the years by people or animals walking on it one at a time—single file—through the grass. It doesn’t appear to be an even path, as far as I can tell. It starts off smooth enough, but soon dips into a little valley just beyond the tall grasses and winds aimlessly through an unkempt meadow. If I squint I can barely see where the path crosses to a rocky hillside just as it meets the horizon. Is that someone in the distance, walking toward the rocks?
Something must be wrong. Surely this can’t be the road to Freedom. Where is everyone? I’d imagined there’d be hundreds, if not thousands of pilgrims headed for the distant village called Freedom. I’d expected to see a paved concrete boulevard, smooth and wide, with plenty of room to travel beside fellow seekers. Why was the path so narrow and the entrance virtually hidden? Wouldn’t it be easier to find if there was a map with a giant arrow showing “You Are Here?”
Scratching my head, I decide to go back to the bench by the garden gate. I’ll just sit and take in the view for a while…wait for someone else to come along. I really hadn’t planned on heading out for Freedom all alone.
Come to think of it, there are too many things left undone back at my house. Laundry sits piled nearly to the sky and dirty dishes crowd the kitchen sink. My checkbook needs to be reconciled and a trip to the market wouldn’t be a bad idea. Truthfully, I don’t really have time to wait for someone to join me on a journey through uncharted lands…and I’m sure the quaint hamlet of Freedom isn’t all it’s cracked-up to be anyway. Maybe I’ll go another day.
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