The foothold gives
Within the shifting sienna soil
Slowly sliding downward
A little more
Crumbling outward, and settling on level, if not firm, ground.
It does not appear
That the way to continue is to retrace the fallen steps.
The earthen walls are sheer.
The sky crowns the distant precipice
Of the first faltering steps
That led to this place,
A different place,
With an unfamiliar view
And unusual possibilities.
It is a dry river bed.
Swirls of sediment mark the distant memory of rushing water,
It stretches ahead
Beyond the reach of sight
Further down, the bank is yet passable.
Ascent would be possible through tangled trees
And steep, rock strewn incline.
The point of origin could perhaps be reached
Climb back up or explore onward?
Water begins to seep in ever increasing rivulets
Soaking the thirsty ground.
Saturation becomes mud.
Walking becomes unsteady.
The roar of the approaching torrent can be heard
Before it arrives.
Scramble to the bank or ride the impending wave?