An old African American woman, named Phoenix Jackson, is walking alone through the thicket. She has a cane, a red wrap around her head, curly black hair, a dark striped dress, an apron, and unlaced shoes. She is walking slow.
As the old woman is walking, she encounters animals that keep getting in her way. They keep getting under her feet. Later on, she approaches a hill on the path. She states, "Seems like there is chains about my feet..." meaning it is hard to walk up. This hill and the animals does not stop her from her destination.
Walking down the hill, Phoenix's dress gets caught by a thorn bush and almost rips her dress. She carries on, but approaches the "trial". A log is in the middle of the path. She makes it over safely, and says to herself, "I wasn't as old as I thought."
Phoenix sits down for a while at a dead field and pictures a boy bringing her cake. She continues her journey and sees a scarecrow who she thinks is a ghost. She dances with it for a moment and continues on. She then drinks sweet water from a place called "easy place".
Phoenix gets knocked over by a dog and falls in a ditch. A hunter helps her up and Phoenix says she's going to town. She steals a nickel from him and then later he points a gun at her. She isn't frightened but continues her journey. She then makes it to town.
While in town, Phoenix goes to the doctors office. She forgets why she's there and doesn't talk to the nurse. She gets medicine for her sick grandson. The attendant gives her a nickel in the spirit of Christmas time. Phoenix then begins her journey home.