As sweat dripped from my forehead onto the mat below me, I wondered, "When it comes to Hansel and Gretel, why does everyone remember the breadcrumbs and completely forget the white pebbles?"
That's one of the perks of having a baby, you know, getting to read stories you hadn't heard in decades and realize you got it all wrong all along.
It turns out that when Hansel and Gretel were first cast off to the woods, they left behind small white pebbles to guide them home. It worked, and they got home safely. The very next day, they were cast off again, further into the woods, with no white pebbles to leave along the trail. Out of desperation, they used what they had on hand: crumbs of a slice of bread. Sadly, the crumbs were no match for the forest's hungry birds, and Hansel and Gretel were left wandering the woods with no way to get home.
The white pebbles worked. The breadcrumbs didn't.
I looked into the long mirror at the front of the room. Beads of sweat sprung from my skin like a snake shedding its skin. My face was alight in a rosy pink, flush from flinging my body this way and that longer and harder than my mind thought possible. And that mind of mine made sure I heard its wild protests every few milliseconds—
But for a second it just stopped.
For months, I'd felt a need—a yearning, really—to get back to something. To my workouts. To my faith. To my words. To my seeking. To me. Because that's a place we're all looking to go, back inward, to our Hearts, where we can finally, wonderfully, dependably rest. In the past, I'd tried to lay breadcrumbs to find my way there, through food or drinks or climbing ladders of accomplishment, but it never worked—not for long, anyway. But in that moment I knew I'd found my white pebbles, what would really work and get me back to my Heart: art, movement, love, health.
I knew it because it felt right. I felt right—stoic, graceful, light.
Finally, there, in that sweltering, unadorned room, I thought to myself, "I'm on my way home."
Thanks for reading day 17 of #100daysofmicrostories. I still have quite a ways to go to hit 100, but I'm chugging along like The Little Engine That Could: "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!"