With the Rope in Hand

Wistfully he looks around, the donkey, which I am leading by the rope, for the first time, wistfully back to his pasture and his comrades. They were allowed to stay there and continue to graze and go where they wanted, at least within the fence, without a halter, without a rope. And those who stayed behind in the pasture look after those who are being led away, where are they going, when will they come back, will they come back at all?

Then he has to quickly pluck a mouthful of grass from the roadside. Only then does he trot along, because his friend is now also trotting. Maybe there is a little curiosity about where to go. The defense still prevails, possibly also because he should now move as someone else wants him to. along the way. The native pasture can still be seen when he turns his head. Maybe a mouth full of grass after all? Then he feels the pull on the rope, gently at first, but more energetically after he keeps trying. You are not even allowed to stop to pluck the grass. He’s beginning to find that increasingly unsympathetic, especially now that a turning point is coming. No, both donkeys don’t want to go any further. A few more steps and you have finally said goodbye to the view of the yard, enter a forest.

Actually, enough would have gone by now. It would be time to turn back, but those who have the rope in their hands won’t let go, they absolutely want to keep going. It’s the first ten minutes when they keep trying, stopping and turning around, back to home. But after these first ten minutes, which everyone knows who decides to go running again after a long time, where you fight against the reluctance and the temptation to retreat into comfort, they now trot along alongside us, can be guided and seem to enjoy it.

They confide in each other, no matter where it goes, no matter how far the path stretches, they go with them, always putting one hoof in front of the other, calm and composed. This serenity is overwhelming. The tension melts away, and while you can’t talk to this four-legged companion, it’s different than walking alone.

A quiet, insightful companion who neither keeps track of time nor is keen on any records. A pace is found by itself that is comfortable for both so that the landscape does not simply pass by but can be recorded and viewed. Serenity towards life for these two hours that we do nothing but walk together, between forests and fields, while the sun shines its rays through the dense foliage. There’s nothing to do right now but go here and be here. So why not be calm and let your thoughts fly?

At first, they remain in what we have left behind, but soon they dissipate. You come back soon enough. Sit down on the branches and ears of corn to rest a little before they fly up, free and unbridled.

Otherwise, it happens so often that thoughts are regulated, that they are forced to find tried and tested solutions to problems that cannot be solved with traditional ones. Nevertheless, we try again and again without getting one step further, but when thoughts are allowed to fly, then suddenly new paths are found because the view expands, and new approaches are discovered.

And the rope in his hand hangs loose. We walk together, the donkey and I, until we turn back onto the well-known path, the pasture in sight and the companions within earshot. Soon they’ll be home, freed from halter and rope, they’ll do a few joyful leaps in the pasture first, test whether the grass still tastes the same as before and say hello to those who stayed behind. In their small universe they have experienced farewell, abandonment and return – and walking together I have found a calmness and serenity that is otherwise rarely possible for me.

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