"Fear has two meanings: 'forget everything and run' or 'face everything and rise.' The choice is yours."
I listened to the sound of the river flowing, and the frogs croaking. I heard the birds chirping, and the wind howling. I felt the clouds thundering and the rain drizzling. I looked at the clouds which were dense and dark and gloomy as if they are going to break down anytime now.
Though the surrounding was beautiful, beautiful beyond my imagination, I had never felt this scared in my life. "Yes, I am scared, thrilled but scared." I half-heartedly admitted.
Maybe this was because of the terrifying looking clouds, or maybe because of the fact that I was all alone in the woods, and I had lost my map and with that my way out of this scary forest. It was going to be dark soon and I had no clue what to do.
"I can go back the way I came, but I have already walked like 4 hours till here," I say to myself "and it would a sucker for me if I go back."
"Or I can just keep sitting here, talking to myself, getting wet and cold in the rain, and wait for some miracle to happen, to guide me to my way forward." I hoped.
I looked at my watch and it's 3:00 pm. It was going to get dark in 2 hours and I had to act quickly if I did not want to get stuck in the forest with no food.
"God I am already hungry. I knew it was a bad idea to do this trip alone." I say to myself.
"It's been 6 months since the last group wandered on this trail before me." I realised as I was recalling the dates on the register while signing my name at the entrance of the trail. This very realisation sent a shiver down my spine.
I checked the time again and it's 3:15 pm. 'I have to do something if I do not want to get stuck here and eaten by some wild animal" I started to get anxious. And the clouds thunder again. I wonder what they were trying to say, were they trying to scare me or encourage me, I really couldn't say. And the clouds thunder again louder this time.
I remember all the times I had let myself down in life by escaping, by running away from my responsibilities and I said to myself "I won't let it happen this time."
I stood up, grabbed my backpack, looked around one last time if there was some way forward, and the clouds thunder again louder then the last time. I was still trying to figure out what these clouds are trying to say. By the look of it, it seemed they were trying to scare me, terrorise me, asking me to retreat. But at the same time, It felt like they are challenging me to overcome my fears and face the challenges head-on.
''I am strong now. I won't let myself down this time. I can do this" I consoled myself. I look around yet one more time for any signs of the trail and failed one last time.
"Last option I have is to cross the river and check if there is a way on the other side' I murmured as I took off my shoes, tied them to my backpack, grabbed a stick.
"Please god help me" I prayed as I put my first foot in the water.
"Whoa! that's freezing cold" I shouted and snapped my foot out of the water.
And the clouds thundered, yet again.
'I am not going to turn back" I said to myself and jumped into the water, and within seconds I was waist deep in the chilling cold water.
I manoeuvred my way with the help of a stick and in the next few moments, I was out of the water, on the other side of the river. I took a deep breath in relief. I was soaking wet and shivering but I had a very little time so I moved around to look for the trail. I walked some 200 meters uphill and there it was, the trail, my way forward.
'I find it, finally' I jump with joy.
'Booyah!' I shouted, and just then I realised that there was something different.
I could not hear the clouds, that was roaring at me a few moments ago. There was no rain, and the sky was clear as if nothing had happened. All the far was gone along with the clouds. I put my shoes back on and started to walk on the trail, towards my way forward. I completed the trail in another three hours. I was happy that I was safe and alive, but that sense of accomplishment was truly overwhelming.
It's been a year since that incident in the woods and here I am, standing on a cliff, looking down at the treacherous water and the terrifying height. Facing my fears ones again. Yes, I am scared, thrilled but scared. "I can still take a step back," I say to myself. Only this time I do not need the thundering clouds to motivate me, and I jump.