In the middle of a forest
In the middle of our life’s way, I found myself in a dark wood where the straightway was lost.
What kind of middle of the way is this, where forward motion hits a dead-end?
Where life’s vital energies come to a terrifying standstill, where every step you take could be your last step?
This is the midpoint.
The midpoint is a strange and uncanny place.
It’s not the halfway mark on a straight finite line. It’s not equidistant from the beginning and the end. No, it’s a path without issue. A place where all footing is lost and where, if there is to be any resumption of motion, it will have to be on a different footing all together.
That’s what it means to begin in the middle of the way. To find a new footing and in so doing, to undergo a curve, a swerve rather than to continue on the same rectilinear course.
The midpoint marks a turning point. Look, there’s the mountain, there’s the path that leads upward toward the light. But those three beasts block the way.
If you don’t turn yourself around at the midpoint, if you don’t turn around the midpoint, you’ll stand there and petrify.
-Dante's Inferno Canto I (as translated by Robert Harrison)