I know exactly why you are here. You are a seeker of meaning, a seeker of The Answer. Well, just down that path, no more than an hour’s walk from here, you will encounter a fork in the road that does not appear on any map. You will know it by the gentle fragrance of jasmine petals and the attentive stares of three black cats (if you reach the standing stone, you’ve gone too far).
While I strongly caution against taking the right fork, I know I will be ignored. So tread carefully, and ensure you take three flowers with you (I cannot help you to choose which three, but choose wisely).
Once you are committed in this endeavour, stick tight to the trail. Do not hesitate in your step for more than a moment, do not slip, trip, or stumble on any stone or errant branch you may find in your way, and never EVER stray from the path.
At the Man of Leaves, you must take seven short steps to your left and whisper the name of your mother’s eldest sibling into the North Wind’s coat tails. The departing wind will howl back in anguish the exact hour of your death, but take care not listen, or you will be permitted no further.
Present your first flower to the Man of Leaves and he will point you in the direction of the second leg of your journey. He is full of lies and not to be trusted. Still, take the route he indicates, but do so only with backwards steps. Do not allow your gaze to stray from his variegated face until the protective shadow of the Great Oak dulls the hue of your fine clothes.
From high in the branches above you, you will hear the laughter of squirrels (ignore their mocking tones for who frets over the opinions of rodents). It is to them you must offer your second tribute. If they approve of your choice of flower, they will call forth the Rooted Worm to bear you to the edge of the forest upon its elasticated spine. If they do not…well, you will soon find that out for yourself.
Should your nerve hold strong and your desire remain unwavering, you will find yourself on the edge of a wildflower meadow and at the centre, a house — your own house. This is not the time for idling for the person within is the one you have sought from your very first step, the sole purpose of this voyage. They will stand, eager, in the doorway, awaiting your return and your decision. It is to this person, and this person alone, you should make your final tribute: the last plucked flower, and your unconditional devotion.