He didn’t know that he’d been staring at shadows on a cave wall until his shackles were broken. His neck was stiff and his eyes weren’t ready for the seemingly intense blast of light of the fire behind him. The forms he’d always known lost their significance once he understood that their appearance was a result of light and placement. After a few hours, his newly found freedom gave way to courage and he began the ascent toward the mouth of the cave.

The fire which had illuminated the puppet show of his now former life didn’t suffice to prepare him for daylight. The man squinted a little more with each step away from where he’d been imprisoned for so long. The light was nearly blinding, but he was too curious to see what else he would find. A couple of revelations dramatically changed his life and he was hungry for more.

Before he’d entirely made his exit, the man encountered fresh air. It was foreign, but at the same time, amazing. Not only would he not be able to ever look at and speak of the forms that had passed before his eyes for years in the same manner, but he’d never want to go return to the dank, smoky climate of the cave.

As he ventured, he began to think of his compatriots. He had to tell them. He wanted to go and and share his discoveries with them. He paused for a moment and thought about turning back to get his friends. Would some of them be afraid? Would others reject an offer of revelation and freedom, choosing instead to stare at things that he could no longer hold to be real? The man decided to see what else lay ahead of him before inviting others to participate.

In is adventure, he encountered grass and was astounded at the bright red and orange flowers near the cave. He might have panicked when he thought he was being attacked by a small, white butterfly, but he quickly realized that it wasn’t dangerous at all. He forgot about his friends as new sights and smells lured him further into the open. After a few more hours and plenty of exploration, the man, knowing that nothing would ever be the same again decided that he had to return to the cave to release the others, so they could embark on this journey with him.

He turned to begin the journey to his former home, but heard a familiar voice yelling, “Watch out!”

Another exclaimed, “Up here!”

At first, he was upset. His lifetime friends were already out here and they hadn’t bothered to get him. How long had they been aware of this new world? Why hadn’t they invited him to experience it with him? Their yelling continued as these thoughts flashed through his mind. A noise he’d never heard before shook him from his pondering; something large, brown and furry was charging his direction. It looked unpleasant and had long, sharp teeth and claws. It was then that he looked up and saw his friends yelling at him from a branch high up in a tree. The bear continued on its path, excited for a meal.

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I always want to share about the new things I’m learning. The fact that I write only exaggerates this desire. But I can’t tell you how often after communicating my most recent revelation, the people around me say something akin to, “Oh yeah. I knew that.”

I never feel as though I’ve been left behind when this happens. Rather, it makes me feel like a late bloomer. Which is kind of awkward, but then again the second mouse gets the cheese or something like that. Or it gets eaten by an angry bear if its friends have all the good hiding spots.