Dare not to lift your eyes from the ground beneath your feet;
the path through the sun-dappled God-woven pine-needle thread-bare throw-rug
is for you alone.
Follow the way the ferns guide you, they bow and beckon the direction you may go.
See how honored they are for their stations;
a whisper can tear them to pieces, and yet they stand like a colonnade,
avid and ardent in their mission.
Sweetly caressing your naked ankles as you pass.
As you pass
on the soft black earth, cold on your skin,
damp with morning dew that lingers even after the high noon.
As you pass
through muck and mire that sucks at your feet,
viscous with bilge that does not drain.
As you pass
on the dry white sand, scorching your skin,
seared with no relief from the relentless sun.
As you pass
on the rich green Earth, warm under your heels,
wet with rains that do not end, and always begin again.

Forward, onward, vanward.
Look back for a moment, for a year,
to see where you have been, to see from where you came,
to remember why you are here, but not for longer than you must.
It is all still ever there, always.
But the way back is not the way ahead.
The ferns are waiting ahead;
eager in their purpose, sure of their calling.
Be gentle as you pass.