When I run out, feel bottom, have nothing be there when I reach out, I say out loud STOP and remind myself—there’s a whole other side I’m forgetting at the dismal frenzy moment. A whole other side of good things, which are so clear and catching in a better light of mood, but, deep down in the tunnels where I get stuck, I cannot see or feel them. So I revisit favorites, summon backup, think fondly. Even if all that doesn’t work, it helps.

The stone road is very, very long. No one knows where it ends. It passes by every known city, goes through the border towns, and leaves behind the last frontier outposts. On and on.

The monks repave the eroded slabs, help travelers, and tend to the milestones and wayside shelters. But most of the time, they walk.

Anyone can join. The monks, though, do not advise one to spend their life walking on a road with no end. But still they come. Many pledge themselves, for every reason in the world, and start walking. Most turn back within a few days. The added insult, of course, is that they have to walk back.

She has been walking for eighty years. She took her first step when she was thirty years old, with nothing left behind her, before her only the rising sun. The last shelter she passed was one she built herself, two decades ago. A decade after that, under a freshly chiseled milestone, she buried her last traveling companion and wept.

She walks now, alone, slowly, her cane taking the longer strides. Her eyes remain as ever on the horizon. The sunrise is beautiful.

Squinting into the light, she sees a figure walking toward her.