All my heroes left for the mountains after being relegated to dusty shelves, dismissed as bigots and primitives by a secular age.
By those whose only concern was the objective and not The Object;
For living and working like wayfaring strangers, for ranting and writing like mad men that the truest thing is myth and the fullest thing is fairy tale.
They preached that Truth imprints upon and chases down the amnesiacs who once had known It–but who know not now (and for how long!)–inflicting brief convicting comfort too familiar to be false, yet too good, too full, too right to be real. (If not for having grown in Paradise, cultivated and nurtured and thriving There still, though we are not.)
Though we forgot, but are nevertheless affixed to an incorrupt Beacon calling us homeward wherever our footsteps fall.
And in darkest night, the brightest day, gloried in glimpses of a Great Feast and an Archpriest, and that cloud of witnesses wandering upward into the Appalachians, though they still sing;
and hear us also, but are not troubled;
and grow in greatness, but hearts are humble;
and increase in stature, but remain the least.
I did not know what my heroes knew, but I believed them when they told me. And my dreams became plain since they needn’t be more while legends poured into life itself, of those who went before,
and went bloodied,
and went better,
and went braver,
and went beatified;
of dragons and demons and war,
and the poet,
who wrote the rhyme
and bludgeoned the beast
and sowed the seed
and swung the sword
and shot the gun
and wounded evil
And cared not for the objective, but only The Object to which all objectives that are not idols lead.
And I breathed story and swallowed salvation, for they said I ought to spend my numbered days for to face the labors and purgation of the valleys and fields I’d meet when I arrived, before I climbed.
And so I did, because I knew…
All my heroes left for the mountains, and I wanted to leave for them, too.
Those glimmering blurs, those jagged majesties hovering between the fog. Beyond which, an eternity my heroes could not recount. (And tried not, having never seen it or been able.) All my heroes, lost but found, traveling but home, scaling infinite successions of endless peaks, bleeding joy from their well-worn hands and aching feet upon reaching every apex and finding another farther up:
An ever grander obstacle.
An ever deeper mystery.
An ever longer story.
An ever growing love.
Here their gardens tended and here their labor wrought, they hammered their signposts into the soil and scattered their epistles over the earth for those who blindly tarry and for those who surely will.
All my heroes left for the mountains, and there await me still.