Step 17 (77.)

What luck, the doors are open
and the sun shines brighter than it did before.
That gray haze has departed,
and red sands stretch into a clear blue horizon.
Adventures beckon,
and we move in response to their summons.
One foot goes in front of the other,
ad infinitum,
at least, this is the hope.
The sky is cut by sharp mountains in the distance,
a maw of earth that chews would-be hikers,
ravenous, unyielding.
There are no birds overhead,
and this is not so strange
given the harsh heat of this desert wonderland.
Towers behind, mountains ahead, sky above,
and inside, no dread – these sands support movement
so into the future, we go.
Brilliant gleam cuts vision asunder,
and I shield my eyes
in curious wonder.
Something reflects up ahead, and in its light beams
I find my new path.
Minutes, maybe hours, pass in a blink,
and I find myself standing before a decently-sized pond.
Dreamy oasis.
Mind mirage, mirror of vanity or insanity, impart your secrets.
Looking down and inward, I see
me, and
two somethings on my shoulders:
a plump crow with sky-blue plumage mixed among its inky feathers,
a small raccoon with one neon-green eye and one crimson eye.
To these unseen friends I say


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