The road we walk has been walked before;
The footsteps of ancestors lie in the dirt before us
Under our feet, we tread in their ways.
These roads that I map have been mapped before,
Else no words would have come down to us
However dim, however garbled, however scorned,
Scraps and patches for us to piece together.
Yet the scraps and pieces are nothing
To the experience of the road itself,
So come, read the words of the new pathwalkers,
Those who follow the tracks, those who move
Through the dust, the snow, the rivers of blood and knives.
Why should we place this map in words?
Would it not be better, cries the wild heart,
To leave it secret, leave it myth, leave it scorned
That none might trouble its ways with disrespect?
Yet there will always be those who travel, I say back
To the fears and worries, and they deserve whatever words
Of wisdom we can give them. I would rather
Clean up the litter of a hundred tourists' bones
Than have the death of one god-touched innocent
On my hands for my sin of silence.
So come, take this offering of words,
This map, this guide, this book of warnings,
And take those warnings to your heart,
Shapeshifter, journeyer, pathwalker, way-tamer,
Walker of the Roads cradled in the Great Tree,
And the Tree's Blessing upon you, Walker,
In the roots, may you find your way
In the branches, may you find your way
In leaf that stretches to the darkening Gap, may you find your way.