I remember when I first encountered that word. It was in a CD-ROM game where you sailed up the Amazon river and could choose to set your own pace - I choose mine to be "grueling", even though I didn't know what that meant at the time. It sounded like food - probably because of the "gruel" part.
I feel a bit like that ship sometimes, pressed on towards a goal which I can only dimly see, into deep and dark waters - mysterious, hinting of danger and wonders. Sometimes, the scenery is dull and energy-sapping: mosquitoes whining in my ear, a starless night, swampy trees overhanging in the still, moist air...
I wonder why I left my shallow bay where the sun shined always and I knew every path and clearing. Why I have this terrible faculty to be bored, to long for new things and new places, because new things only seem to bring loneliness and heartache.
And yet, there's a voice in me reminding me that my brain is active and alert, my hands and legs are strong to carry my burdens (and help others carry theirs) and walk this long path to someplace I don't know yet. I'll know when I get there.
And so, while the night is long, the light within me never dims nor fails, and I sail on.