You started off on the trail horse with the rest of your group. You hoped and trusted that the stable hands knew what they were doing when they cinched up the saddle. And off you rode with the confidence of “The High Plains Drifter” to seek your fortune on the trail and to prove you’ve got “True Grit”.
Yes, there are people in front of you but there are people behind you as well. You all have varying goals; some want to just ride a horse for the first time, some want to recapture their youth, some want to see the scenery, some want to photograph but you all have the same destination, the end of the trail.
You have been riding for a couple of hours now. You are starting to feel a little saddle sore, okay, let’s say what we feel; the butt hurts. The horse periodically takes off in a spleen jolting trot or stops randomly for a big bite of the delectable green grass on the side of the trail. One seasoned horse rider gets annoyed at the incompetence of the riders in front and gallops past you. You won’t admit it but you secretly hope that the jerk gets bucked off or at least in trouble for not following the rules. You also won’t admit that you wish it was you running freely with the wind in your hair.
You ride up a hill. You feel like you are going to slide right off the back of the horse but the saddle keeps you on. Whew. Thank you saddle and thank you stable hand for cinching the saddle correctly. You get to the crest of the hill and all of the group is milling about and looking out at the vista. You can see forever. The sky is clear and there is a forest of multiple shades of green below you and it all goes on as far as the eye can see. It is breathtaking.
The leader announces that if you look off to the southwest you can see your destination. And you can, just
There is a blue roof among all of the green. It looks so small and so far away.
You revel in the fact that you are on a horse, the Mercedes of the animal world. You look down at your trusty or perhaps more rusty steed and realize it’s maybe not the Mercedes, but at least it’s not the Yugo.
You have made it halfway through your trek. Your goal, though far, is in view. You can do this. You can complete this goal. You are filled with hope and wonder at your own amazing awesomeness!
Suddenly, you find your world slipping sideways. “What the…!” You yell as you are dumped head first on the ground. You sputter the dirt from your mouth and bless the helmet that you originally cursed. You lift your head and look at your backstabbing horse. How did it throw you off? The horse just looks back at you blankly. The leader walks over and jumps off of her horse and asks you the questions they ask all people who have been dropped on their heads, “What’s your name? How many fingers do you see? Are you okay?” You answer but there is a definite edge of anger and humiliation to your voice. She ignores it as she inspects the horse.
“Ah, here’s the problem.” She tightens the betraying cinch of the saddle. “They didn’t get it tight enough. Sometimes that happens. Glad it happened while we were stopped.”
Oh, yes, you think. Lucky me.
You are sore, you are embarrassed, you are trying to figure out how to get back on that enormous beast that is still just staring at you. Do you even want to? Your grandfather’s words come to your mind. “If ya’ fall off a horse, you get back on.” Ha, you think. Why bother? You can walk the rest of the way. This whole thing has been hard.
The trail leader looks at you as she holds her hands out to give you a boost back up. “You’ve come this far. Are you really going to give up? It’s all downhill from here, Rider, so get up, dust yourself off and get back on that horse.”
You, writer, have come this far with your Camp NaNo endeavor. It has been difficult. You have been thrown by your characters. You plot has come undone. But you are halfway there. Yes, you may be behind, the last one in the pack, but you are moving forward doing something that you’ve always wanted to do. Will you quit now? Or will you get back on that horse and ride the rest of the way.
It’s all downhill from here, Writer, so get up, dust yourself off and get back on that horse and know that there is a stable and rest and the knowledge that you’ve achieved the once unachievable waiting for you at the end of the trail.