On the Road to the Top of the World


Along the road to the top of the world is a path and a stream and a tree.

Where the three meet lives a wise sage who goes for long periods of time without the pleasure and burden of company. 

In the cold of winter mornings, when the ground outside the window is lit by the lamp and the fire warms the room, the sage is writing a memoir.

Progress is slow as memories are faded and mostly unremarkable and the pace along the road to the top of the world is lackadaisical.

One day the sage decides to break from the task to follow the path further into the forest.   In the stillness of the ponderosa pines, the sage comes upon an elk who is gazing back with a look of great curiosity.  The two lock eyes and assess one another and the sage sees that the elk is unafraid.  Minutes pass before the elk ambles off, leaving the sage to speculate about the things the elk will do that day.

The sage proceeds along the path for a long while and comes upon a clearing at the time when the sun is straight overhead.   There is call for water and a rest so the sage lies with eyes closed on the warmth of a large flat boulder at the edge of the open space.  The sun moves further west before the rustle of wind and the sense of shared space prompts the sage to wake and to spot, off on the other side of the meadow, a moose.  The magnificence and strength of the moose is duly respected before the sage tiptoes backward, downwind and away. 

At the part of the path that climbs higher, where rocks encumber and a steep incline challenges, the sage spies a group of mountain goats who are foraging for food near tree line.  They are hungry and surefooted and move resolutely step by thoughtful step toward nourishment. The sage watches and feels satisfied.

As the sage returns home to where the path and the stream and the tree unite, there is a quail at the feeder who busies itself with gathering what it needs.  Ever circumspect, one of its eyes constantly sees the entire circumference that surrounds the yard, and the quail watches as the sage and the dog who is always there go inside the house.

And there, by the warmth of the fire and the light of the lamp the sage still cannot think of a remarkable memory to add to the memoir.  Instead, the sage manifests the following:

 May you move along your path with the grace and bravery of an elk.

 May you feel as strong and magnificent as a moose.

 May you be as steady and resolute as a mountain goat as you make your journey.

 May you have the vision of a quail so you can see clearly to gather what you need.

 And may you always be surrounded with love and companionship, like that of a good dog.


Have a great week! 

76 thoughts on “On the Road to the Top of the World

  1. What a beautiful post… Fascinated me. Your words, your photographs… and I have learned a new word now, “lackadaisical”… Thank you dear Bella, they all feed my soul… with my love, nia

  2. Thank-you once again. I never saw a moose while there or the quail. You are fortunate to have the time and wisdom to enjoy all of these. Wishes for safe, magical and magnificent journeys my friend!

  3. I’ve never seen better pictures of these creatures! I certainly have not spotted them so close up on my hikes in the Rockies! Thank you for sharing such astounding beauty!

  4. what a beautiful fable, Winsomebella. This is pure poetry, and the pictures, as always, are magnificent. Thank you.

  5. Bravo! I loved how you had this story matched up with the pictures and to my delight, a poem that wrapped everything up. Beautifully and wonderfully done my friend! Hope you are keepin’ warm! 🙂

  6. Beautifully said. As the richest man in the world (no, certainly not in money terms!), I find that by marking the beauty and the worth in every experience of every day adds to my wealth. Having spent all my money on sailing around the world and then writing about it has given me a truly different perspective on everything I see.
    Live life with laughter, love, and passion.
    Larry Jacobson

  7. You always take us on a journey out of our lives and into the wilderness to learn something about ourselves. Thanks for the magnificence. And the quietness. And the companionship.

  8. How can your photos show so much detail. down to each feather and each strand of hair? I know it’s talent and equipment. Also your words of wisdom and creativity are inspirational. So when is your “MY Gutsy Story” coming?

  9. Pingback: Mountain Snow and Photoshop « Inside Out Cafe

  10. Amazing photos and writing! The words come to life by themselves and with the photos, the effect is amplified so that the imagery evoked is that much more powerful. I feel as though I am there. Wow! A feast for my mind and soul. Thank you =)

  11. You observations skills are quite remarkable and so are your poetic skills, putting words to what you see. A lovely journey you have taken on us. And such a cute ending. I had a great time reading you post. And enjoyed the great pictures. Thanks for sharing.

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