The winding path stretches out for miles before the pilgrims like glistening streams under the setting crimson sun, beyond the rolling hills and flowing valleys. Along the way, they are often met with other weary wanderers from the sub paths that join the main lane reaching out of sight where the tip of the mountain top kisses the skies. At this point of the journey, the travelers are spent in every way. Their tongues are parched, their stomachs groan with hunger, their feet are callused, and their spirits weary.
They make their way to the next look out spot and drop their loads by the foot of the great oak tree. They take in the view from the cliffs looking back on how far they have come. The sound of the still waters on the down stream can be heard. Drawn to the delicious clear water, they wash their faces and dip their feet in the deep coolness.
One by one, they continue to the pastures where a table has been magically spread before them as it was the day before further down the path. Only the spread seems bigger than before. When every last seat has been filled, the meal of celebration begins. The sunset on the horizon casts a warm glow as the wine flows and the warm dishes are passed around. Young and old, weak and strong alike break bread together.
As the food nourishes their bodies, the travelers share stories of their journeys. They speak of the thorny paths, the muddy swamps, the sea of wild multi-colored flowers and the beauty that is found in unexpected places. Some stories draw tears of deep emotion and other bring laughter that musically rings in the gentle breeze.
When the last drop of wine has been drunk, and the last song has been sung, they move from the magical table to find places of solitude beneath the trees to rest and gaze upon the glittering stars. Under the canopy of oak trees, they are sheltered from the storms and the dangers of the night. At the break of dawn, they are woken by the birds tweeting of promises to come. They clothe themselves with the clean garments laid out for them, pick up their bags of gifts they acquired along the way, and depart with the new friends they met along the journey.
The jovial company which was smaller the day before, journey up the path, through more thorny paths and valleys, feeling renewed energy in their numbers. They move closer to the mark one step at a time with every ounce of hope and strength. As the sun sets again, they make their way once more to the table of renewal set before them and those they met along the way. There are more stories to be told, and songs to be sung…