As he tried to find his way, Haw worried, at first, that he might have waited too long in Cheese Station C. He hadn’t had any Cheese for so long that he was now weak. It took him longer and it was more painful than usual to get through the maze. He decided that if he ever got the chance again, he would adapt to change sooner. It would make things easier.
Then, Haw smiled a weak smile as he thought, “Better late than never.”
During the next several days, Haw found a little Cheese here and there, but nothing that lasted very long. He had hoped to find enough Cheese to take some back to Hem and encouraged him to come out into the maze.
But Haw didn’t feel confident enough yet. He had to admit, he found it confusing in the maze. Things seemed to have changed since the last time he was out here.
Just when he thought he was getting ahead, he would get lost in the corridors. It seemed his progress was two steps forward and one step backwards. It was a challenge, but he had to admit that being back in the maze, hunting for Cheese wasn’t nearly as bad as he feared it might be.
As time went on he began to wonder if it was realistic for him to expect to find New Cheese. He wondered if he had bitten off more than he could chew. Then he laughed, realizing that he had nothing to chew on at the moment.
Whenever he started to get discouraged he reminded himself that what he was doing, as uncomfortable as it was at the moment, was in reality much better than saying in the Cheeseless situation. He was taking control, rather than simply letting things happen to him.
Then he reminded himself, if Sniff and Scurry could move on, so could he!
Later, as Haw looked back on things, he realized that the Cheese at Cheese Station C had not just disappeared overnight, as he had once thought. The amount of Cheese that had been there toward the end had been getting smaller, and what was left had grown old. It didn’t taste as good.
Mold may even have begun to grow on the Old Cheese, although he hadn’t noticed it. He had to admit however, that if he had wanted to, he probably could have seen what was coming. But he didn’t.
Haw now realized that the change probably would not have taken him by surprise if he had been watching what was happening all along and if he had anticipated change. Maybe that’s what Sniff and Scurry had been doing.
He stopped for a rest and wrote on the wall of the maze:
Sometime later, after not finding Cheese for what seemed like a long time, Haw finally came across a huge Cheese Station which looked promising. When he went inside, however, he was most disappointed to discover that the Cheese station was empty.
“This empty feeling has happened to me too often,” he thought. He felt like giving up.
Haw was losing his physical strength. He knew he was lost and was afraid he would not survive. He thought about turning around and heading back to Cheese Station C. At least, if he made it back, and Hem was still there, Haw wouldn’t be alone. The he asked himself the same question, again: “What would I do if I weren’t afraid?”
He was afraid more often than he liked to admit, even to himself. He wasn’t always sure what he was afraid of, but, in his weakened condition, he knew no he was simply fearful of going on alone. Haw didn’t know it, but he was running behind because he was weighed down by fearful beliefs.
Haw wondered if Hem had moved on, or if he was still paralyzed by his fears. Then, Haw remembered the times when he had felt his best in the maze. It was when he had felt his best in the maze. It was when he was moving along.
He wrote on the wall, knowing it was as much a reminder to himself as it was a marking for his buddy Hem, hopefully, to follow:
Haw looked down the dark passageway and was aware of his fear. What lay ahead? Was it empty? Or worse, were there dangers lurking? He began to imagine all kinds of frightening things that could happen to him. He was scaring himself to death.
Then he laughed at himself. He realized his fears were making things worse. So he did what he would do if he wasn’t afraid. He moved in a new direction.
As he started running down the dark corridor he began to smile. Haw didn’t realize it yet, but he was discovering what nourished his soul. He was letting go and trusting what lay ahead for him, even though he did not know exactly what it was.
To his surprise, Haw started to enjoy himself more and more. “Why do I feel so good?” he wondered. “I don’t have any Cheese and I don’t know where I am going.”
Before long, he knew why he felt good.
He stopped to write again on the wall:
Haw realized he had been held captive by his own fear. Moving in a new direction had freed him.
Now he felt the cool breeze that was blowing in this part of the maze and it was refreshing. He took in some deep breaths and felt invigorated by the movement. Once he had gotten past his fear, it turned out to be more enjoyable than he once believed it could be.
Haw hadn’t felt this way for a long time. He had almost forgotten how much fun it was.
To make things even better, Haw started to paint a picture in his mind. He saw himself in great realistic detail, sitting in the middle of a pile of all his favorite cheeses-from Cheddar to Brie! He saw himself eating the many cheeses he liked, and he enjoyed what he saw. Then he imagined how much he would enjoy all their great tastes.
The more clearly he saw the image of New Cheese, the more real it became, and the more he could sense that he was going to find it. He wrote:
“Why didn’t I do this before?” Haw asked himself.
Then he raced through the maze with greater strength and agility. Before long he spotted a Cheese Station and became excited as he noticed little pieces of New Cheese near the entrance.
They were types of Cheeses he had never seen before, but they looked great. He tried them and found that they were delicious. He ate most of the New Cheese bits that were available and put a few in his pocket to have later and perhaps share with Hem. He began to regain his strength.
He entered the Cheese Station with great excitement. But, to his dismay, he found it was empty. Someone had already been there and had left only the few bits of New Cheese.
He realized that if he had moved sooner, he would very likely have found a good deal of New Cheese here.
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