WELCOME TO URKED !
This is the story of a man that travelled a long way, down a twisted, rolling path. Along the way, he saw many things. Some of them were dark, and frightening, but most of them were interesting, and beautiful, and so the man kept moving slowly ahead.
He was always curious to see what was around the next corner, or over the next hill, even though he wasn’t sure exactly where the path would lead.
Sometimes the days were very long and difficult. The man would trudge uphill in what seemed to be an endless climb, only to find that at the top of the rise, he could see nothing but a thick, dark forest, and another hill ahead.
Sometimes the footing was treacherous, the path narrow, and steep, and many times the man found himself discouraged and wondering whether he was lost. Those were the times of uncertainty. The times when the man truly struggled with thoughts of turning back, or giving up completely. But after a few deep breaths, and a search through his heart, the man always came to the same conclusion.
Well, he told himself, there is nothing else for it than to get up, and go ahead.
Those were often the times, when the next turn in the path would lead to a clear, rushing stream where he could rest, drink the cool, invigorating water, and wash away the dust of disappointments from the road behind him.
Sometimes, gentle slopes would lead to wide, beautiful meadows below, and the man would fairly run down the path, shouting in glee with the ease, and delight of his journey.
One day, the man sensed a change in the wind. Something was different, and he knew that this was not a journey of a thousand miles, but of a thousand, thousands. The path that he had been following for so long, was somehow coming to an end, but he could not see where, or when, or how. He dared not think about what might lie beyond.
And then suddenly, it happened!
The path didn’t so much come to an end, as drop from straight beneath his feet. Down he tumbled, and bounced, scrabbling for purchase to stop the precipitous spill, but he was helpless in the end.
Dazed, and disoriented, he sat himself up to regain his bearings.
Apart from a bruise, and scrape or two, he was fine. But turning to look about him, he was suddenly confounded. The long path was now completely lost to his view somewhere on the high, and utterly unassailable ridge above him. In his ears he heard the sound of lapping water, and as he turned his head to look about, he came to realize that he was on a short, and narrow bank of land, at the shore of a wide and seemingly boundless body of open water.
Clearly, this was going to be a very challenging situation.
No way to return to where he had been and, honestly, no desire to do so.
Yet the only alternative, was uncharted water for as far as the eye could see.
There was no comfort in either choice, and yet he couldn’t stay still; there was nothing on this tiny embankment to nourish body, or soul. Yes, clearly, things were very definitely about to change. And so he did what he had always done before; took a few deep breaths, searched his heart, and let out a loud sigh.
“ Well then! ‘ he said aloud to himself, “ All that is left to do, is dive right in, and swim! ”
It was then that he noticed the flat rock just beneath the surface of the water at his feet, and the words carved into its smooth face.
“Welcome to Urked.”, it said. “ Come on in; the water’s fine!”