The Walk of Life | By: SpinCycle | | Category: Short Story - Fantasy Bookmark and Share

The Walk of Life

Clump, clump, clump went my hooves against the rocky mountainous trail. The path was steep - steeper than I liked by a long shot.But somebody had to carry the load right?And since I was the only one who didnít turn their head away when the job came up, I was saddled with the burden.Nothing new there though.

Breathing heavy from the arduous trip, I didnít even bother to try and hide my weary gait.Not that it mattered.The others were too busy worrying about their own problems to give even half a thought about some tired old mule.As I plodded along, the strap buckles from the pack occasionally gouged into my sides causing me to flinch.The momentary pain reminded me of my vacillating views on life. For you see, some in life have little or no load to carry.Life is a buffet with all they can eat carefully spread out before them.But the universe has a wicked sense of humor and loves a cruel balance.Something must carry the slack and what more perfect than a pack mule?Still, there are some with far worse conditions I care not to mention. But to my weary bones, it didnít matter.Pain and pleasure are all relative things you see.Some experience more of one than another.Unfortunately, my perspective was meticulously carved out like stone sandblasted by the winds of time.After hours and hours of trudging, my views were slowly shaped to understand the rhythm of life for my little corner of the world.Nothing new there though.

For this trip, the pack wasnít the heaviest load Iíd ever been burden with, but the lack of oxygen at such a high elevation and the roughness of the trail made it a serious challenge. Not to mention how one false step could result in a tumble over a rather unpleasant looking drop-off.†† Dang!Inside, I despised the responsibility of carrying an over-sized pack I never asked for.And the maladies of growing older didnít help matters one little bit.Age has a way of making the far too frequent death marches so much more brutal.After so many hikes, the jester began to hide in a dark corner, a struggle to preserve a zest for life.Time to push him back amongst memories of the days when a spry little beast would kick up his heals at the spur of the moment just because he felt giddy.Nothing new there though.

Sometimes, the others along for the trip are in a happy mood.Those are the easy days, if one cares to bandy about such words.The others laugh and joke, only occasionally directing an order at this old mule.But the bad days are a different ballgame all together.Demands and insults occasionally find there way to the surface through backhanded remarks.It would seem some lazy ass mule isnít pulling its own weight.Never mind the pack on old muleís back. A few choice words flung at the mule will surely motivate the lazy beast to perform better! That shiftless animal isnít doing it the right way dang it!†† If only this stupid mule would work more efficiently!Step left!No step right! Now jump, step, and turn dang you! Canít you do anything right you stubborn mule? It would seem one simply canít school an old mule.Nothing new there though.

Like clockwork, the delivery of a load triggers history to repeat itself.Mule is destined to go right back down the hillside for a long and tiring trudge.Upon returning to camp, I snag a few hours of sleep followed by field work in the morning. Then as mid-afternoon rolls around, itís once again time to face the load which life has so carefully provided to slowly break my back over time.The endlessly repeating cycle causes my weary bones creak and ache in ways Iíd never imagined possible. When itís all said and done, the pack is always heavy, the trail grows steeper, and no one wants to know about the sacrifices of some mule.Nothing new there though.

Nobody said life was easy, especially when youíre a pack mule.†† But who ever said mule would play by the rules?Someday, mule dreams of breaking free to run and kick once again!

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