The tree lined road winds into the distant mountains.
The azure sky is spread out till as far as the eye can see - cotton like clouds moving ever so lazily across it.
Meadows, dotted with flowers, carpet the earth and blend into the sky at the edge of the universe.
Purple mountains stand tall and proud at one end of the road - their snow capped peaks breaking the monotony of the horizon.
The scene is a perfect mixture of green, purple and blue - serene, calm, pastel and comforting.
A lonesome traveller is treading upon the winding road – seemingly sure of where he’s headed.
Dressed in pristine white, he carries a stick for support. A white satchel hangs by his side.
His hair is white. His wrinkled face is covered with a long white beard.
His black scabbard gives away the fact that he is not merely an old wise sage.
He is a warrior. Out to seek his destiny. Out to fight his fate - Towards attaining his goal.
Nature seems to be aiding the warrior. The trees provide him with shade from the rays of the sun.
A gentle breeze blows along the path carrying the refreshing scent of the flowers to him.
A bunch of berries fall off their tree. He picks them up and places them gently in his satchel.
The traveller feels tired and sleepy. Raindrops fall onto his face as if to shake him out of his stupor.
He walks on with grit and determination. Something keeps him going. Something keeps fear out of his mind.
Night falls ever so gently. The clear night sky is bejewelled with a million stars.
He looks up at them every time he feels lost. The stars glisten as if to point his way out to him.
The sage can hear the gurgling of water nearby and he knows he is close to the stream.
He knows it is time for him to move off the road and into the forbidden forest.
He decides to wait till it is morning. He lays his white robe onto the side of the road and sleeps like never before.
The traveller wakes up. Something has changed around him. Green has been replaced with fire yellow and brick red.
Unnerved, he gathers his belongings and deviates off the road, into the dense forest.
Dried leaves and twigs hide the forest floor. Tallow and Pine grows everywhere interspersed with thickets of Bamboo.
A gentle stream runs through the heart of the forest. Water flows merrily over rock, stone and boulder.
The warrior walks with measured steps. He walks ever so lightly. Not a twig snaps under his foot. Not a leaf crumples under his weight.
The sage feels he is losing his way. He ties blue silk on trees he passes. He marks out the past and heads towards his future.
He hears a faint rustle amongst the dried leaves on the ground. A ratsnake slithers out and dashes into the bushes.
The warrior follows in the hope to find some eggs. He follows the snake to its hole.
With his bare hands, he searches the inside of the lair. He pulls out a dozen white eggs.
He sits in the bamboo thicket nearby and eats the eggs, the berries still safe in his satchel.
A raging gale starts blowing from the East. The sage did not expect it. It catches him by surprise.
It rushes through spaces in between trees - silently at first and with a loud shrill whistle thereafter.
The gale starts making play with the leaves on the forest floor. It hurls the yellows up towards the sky. It hurls the reds up towards the sky.
The muddy forest floor is exposed for a second. It looks dull and lifeless. It looks mean and haunting.
The Reds come raining down. The Yellows come raining down - the forest floor is carpeted again.
The stream swells all of a sudden. A wall of water comes rushing along.
The stream overflows on either side. Water smashes against the stones. It dashes against the rocks. It crashes against the boulders.
The forest floor starts to flood at a frightening pace. The flowing water takes twigs and leaves along with it.
Wet starts conquering dryness just beyond where the sage stands rooted/
Soon his wooden clogs are wet. His ankles are submerged. He walks on. Undaunted. Unperturbed.
His face is calm. His eyes wide open. His breathing is normal. His exterior gives nothing away about the state of his mind.
He wades through knee deep water - still tying blue silk to trees as he passes them.
Nature is testing his allegiance towards her. He knows she will accept his loyalty and let him pass peacefully. He has faced the test numerous times. He has passed it every time. He knows he will pass it this time.
His mind still believes that the change in his environ is temporary. He takes it to be an abberation. An infinitesimal amount of chaos in his scheme of things.
As if reading his mind, nature shows him what she has in mind.
The azure sky is instantly covered with dark grey clouds. No white and blue to be seen anymore.
Large drops of rain erupt out of the sky. They fall menacingly onto the forest floor.
Each falling drop lands with force large enough to create a splash. Ripples arise on the surface of the water.
The ripples move with astonishing force towards the Tallow. They race towards the Pine. They dash towards the bamboo thickets.
Tallow and Pine tremble. Bamboo comes crashing onto the waterbed. Leaves, Stalk, Bark, Trunk. All.
The rain seems to be falling with one purpose in mind - destruction.
A Pine trunk comes crashing down in the distance with a loud noise. Leaves, Bark, Stalk, Trunk. All.
The sage looks towards it. His face is undisturbed. His mind is elsewhere. This infuriates nature.
Bamboo, Pine and Tallow crash onto the forest floor everywhere. Leaves Stalk, Bark, Trunk. All.
The sage is now wading through chest high water. His face is still calm. His exterior guards his feelings well.
In the distance, he can see the craggy peak of the Volcano. His eyes light up with anger. His face hardens. His exterior toughens.
He knows he has reached the edge of the forest. He can see his goal - He increases his speed.
With perseverance alone can he reach where he wants to. He has to try even harder if has wants to outwit nature.
Water comes crashing onto him. In a trice he is pulled under. Nature wins the battle this time around.
The sage wakes up with a gasp. He finds himself lying on a hard snow covered surface. His robe is still a pristine white. His satchel lies at his side.
He stands up. His eyes open wide in amazement. No matter where he looks, he can see but one thing.
A thick carpet of snow covers every inch of ground visible to him. He realizes he is atop the rugged mountain.
In his mind he recollects the image of the craggy volcano peak. He knows he has to go towards his goal. He is ready to perish but not ready to fail.
He starts his descent down the mountainside. He moves slowly and sharply. He uses stone for support. He uses rock for support. He uses boulder for support.
Something comes to life behind him. A loud rumbling. A faint tremor. A few more tremors. The ground starts to shake.
He turns backwards. An avalanche comes hurtling towards him.
He tries to look for a place to hide. A precipice. A ledge. Hollow. Hole. Geyser. But in vain.
He holds onto a boulder. He breathes deeply. He can feel fear gripping his heart. He can feel weakness taking a toll on him.
The wall of ice comes crashing down. It takes stone with it. It takes rock with it. It takes boulder with it. It takes the traveller with it.
He cannot feel his pain. He can only feel the weight of the snow piled up on him.
He cannot feel his breath. He can only feel the lack of oxygen.
He cannot feel his strength. He can only feel his weakness.
He cannot feel his brevity. He can only feel his fear.
He cannot feel his determination. He can only see his goal.
He tries shifting under the layers of snow. He kicks. He nudges. He claws. He fails.
He regrets his loss to nature. He regrets having befriended her. He regrets having trusted her.
He knows he is trapped in this snowy grave. He knows he is at the mercy of nature.
He feels the power of nature. He feels the weakness of man.
His mind focuses on just one thing. The volcano peak. His goal.
Nature has humbled the sage. She was weakened the warrior. But something is wrong. She rumbles with fury.
She can feel failure deep within her belly. She feels her awesome power is not enough to get the better of this mere mortal.
She sees him kicking and grunting. She senses he wants to give up. She senses he wants to give in.
But something keeps him going. Something stops him from yielding. A force he respects more than her - His goal.
She shakes Earth with all her might. Tremors rip across the icy plain. The snow starts to move aside from over the sage. He lies helpless and exposed on the cold plain.
She smiles. She laughs. She chuckles. Until the sage moves.
She can see him crawling towards the North - in the direction of the volcano peak.
She still hasn’t got the better of his desire. She still can’t control his wants. She cannot tame his yearning. She can’t bewitch his determination.
She feels fury rising up from her belly and into her throat. She feels her anger gathering in her mouth. She blows it all out.
Whirlwinds rise up from the ground. The sage is sucked up into them. He revolves round and round till he feels his head will burst. He then drops to the ground with a loud thud.
She senses accomplishment. He lies there lithe and listless. His sword and satchel are not on his side.
His wooden clogs are not on his feet. His stick is nowhere to be seen. He is lifeless and devoid of energy. He is weak and devoid of strength.
Surely his mind won’t be on his goal! She smirks! He would want to save his own life. He wouldn’t dare move.
Her face loses its substance all of a sudden. The sage is on his knees. He stands up. He takes a step towards the North.
She creates a treacherous wall of water. It picks the sage up and hurtles towards the volcano. It crashes into the wall of the peak leaving the sage on the foot of the volcano.
She decides to destroy him when he is on the verge of attaining his goal. She is not someone who can be challenged. She is not someone who can be beaten.
She waits and watches. The sage is lying bent and broken. His pristine white robes are torn and tattered. They are dirty and bloody.
She smiles. She knows he won’t move. His goal is right in front of him. But will he dare try again?
He moves. He is trying to climb the rocky walls of the volcano. She seethes in anger. Her heart vents its fury out. The volcano erupts.
Hot molten lava gushes out of the mouth of the volcano and flows down its sides. The lava destroys a solitary pink flower on the edge of the mouth. He sees his goal dying. He lets the lava submerge him.
The little pink flower was dead
His promise was broken
His lover would scorn
His life he had to spurn
He was young when he embarked
On this journey long and arduous
He trudged on from city to kingdom
Gaining knowledge and wisdom
Brave and Fearless
With a mind so sharp
He fought every odd
With the blade of his sword
He rankled nature
He fought earth and wind
Tamed water and fire
In the search of his lovers desire
When he came across what he was seeking for
He was too weak to gain
He was not a youth anymore
His body was old, his feet sore
He challenged nature one last time
His mind could see only his lover's smile
He fought but in vain
Nature in her fury had gone insane
The little pink flower was dead
His promise was broken
His lover would scorn
His life he had to spurn