General Fiction posted March 20, 2011

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An old woman who must choose

The Path Less Traveled

by Deejharrington

There was a small clearing in the middle of a huge forest. On a tree stump, sat an old woman. She was pondering the two paths that lay before her. The path to the right was smooth and clear of debris. The left one was rough with holes. Rocks and twigs blocked the way. Squinting her tired eyes, she could see an inviting light at the end of the clear path, the other showed nothing but shadows. Still, she sat wondering which to take.

She sat so long that the creatures of the forest grew accustomed to her presence. The squirrels would approach slowly. When she did not move, they stared and then went about their squirrel business. Birds of every color would come to alight on her hands, searching for food. Chipmunks would dash over her shoes. The brave ones tugged at the laces. After time, they knew she was no threat and accepted her as part of their forest.

When the summer rains came, hawks flew with large leaves to protect her. The raccoons would bring her gourds of water from their river home. As the cold winter winds blew, the furry ones would gather close to keep her warm.

After a long while, she cleared her throat. "It's about time I picked one." she said. Her voice unheard till now, startling the sparrows perched on her shoulders. All the creatures gathered to see what would happen next. They guessed among themselves. Some whispered surely she would pick the clear path, others were not so sure.

The old woman struggled to gain her feet. But after such a long time on the stump, her knees were stiff and hard to bend. The beaver recognized the problem at once and ran to his home to bring a long stick to use as a cane. The old woman nodded her thanks and slowly stood.

She walked slowly toward the clear path. The creatures who had predicted that, shook their heads knowingly. But after a few steps, the woman stopped and turned toward the path to the left. Knowing her progress would be a challenge, the animals quickly began to clear the way. The large birds of prey picked up the heavy sticks in their strong beaks. A family of raccoons rolled rocks out of the way. The bushy tailed squirrel and foxes brushed the dirt and covered the holes. Even the timid field mice worked together to carry the fallen leaves out of the way.

The old woman resolutely began her journey down the once littered path. She turned back and looked at her fellow creatures of the forest. "I thank you for all your help. I promise I won't forget you." she said with a tear rolling down her wrinkled cheek. With determination, she walked sure-footed down the path less traveled.


Don't ask me. My muse snatched the keyboard last night and wrote this. But not being familiar with computers, she lost the whole thing. So this morning, I tried to re-create the story. See, Ms Muse, I told you we needed each other.
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