the Mountain

He reached out his foot and took a step on the top of the mountain. He felt a cool breeze welcome him, and the clouds pillowed majestically as if god himself
tipped his hat at him. “You made it.  Good show, Good show.”

He stretched his blanket on the ground,
and poured a bit of tea from his thermos into the thermos lid. He took a small bite of the last sandwich attempting to savor its flavor, but then savagely bit into it until it was gone.

He felt dizzy, unable to believe he had made it. So many years of practices and so much nagging doubt that he had wasted all this time on an impossible dream, and yet he had.

He looked down at all he had traveled, and saw pillowy clouds nestled below him.  It was a scene he absolutely earned. Unlike people who can sign onto pinterest and see the most
beautiful of scenes at a glance and then dully look it over before
flipping to the next thing of the moment. This was completely his for
this moment, not borrowed, but earned. He was here.

He pulled out a folded up piece of paper, as if it was never doubted
that he would make it, he pulled out his stubby pencil and scribbled:
Dear Family:
I am writing from the top of the mountain. I have made it.
Love your son.

Then he folded the note back up and tucked away his pencil. He was not
one who was very verbose and the letter said what it needed to.

Even though the cold made him shiver almost constantly, he didn’t feel
cold at the moment, he just felt rich with victory. High on success.

But he knew it was time to get packed up again. And fear had waited for
this moment, as he buttoned up his coat and harnessed ropes, slinging
the 50 pound pack on his back and then securing that too.

It was the fear of down and the horrible things that go with down. He
looked over the mountain down the pass he would go. It looked like it
plummeted more than gently swooped. In all the mountains he had gone
down, this was the first that was both so high or steep.

He wanted to wait until his body had recovered from the climb up, he
wanted to badly. His body still ached in so many ways.
He could not stay though, that would lead to death, either by freezing
or starvation. So he had to keep going.

He held onto the rope and gently let himself go a little at a time.
While keeping a firm grip on the rope so that he didn’t fall into the
cavernous abyss below. After a while the muscles in his arms vibrated,
and it felt if they got just a little more sore he may lose the ability
to hold on altogether.

The wind began to pick up and it was soon blowing hard. He walked along
the cliff holding his rope, and trying to maintain balance. But it felt
like the wind was taking bites of his flesh with it.

Every little cliff that was protected somewhat from the blasts of wind,
he stayed longer than he should have. He had gone an entire day
without any food and had just finished the last of his tea. He still had
part of a water bottle though.

He reached a cliff that looked safe enough to stay the night, and he
took it. With three feet in each direction he was fairly safe from
rolling. He poked his head into his coat and wrapped his arms around
his knees to have some shelter, like a bird puffing itself up in its
nest during a storm does. He huddled against the rock to accumulate
what little warmth and protection there was. And due to exhaustion he
did manage to sleep. And he woke up safe in the same place as the sun
was hitting the sky. He was still tired and stiff but he rose and
started back. He noticed that after the rest the muscles in his body
felt like they were on fire.

Not only that but along with the gentle light of the sun, it began to
rain. Just a light rain, but it didn’t matter. This meant the ropes
would be slick and so would the rock. He had to go slower than before.
By noon he had barely made any progress. And the pain in his stomach
started to gnaw at him.

Fortunately the rain did stop and the sun actually came out from behind
a cloud and began to provide some warmth.

But he finally could see the bottom. There were people down there, they
looked like black spots, but he saw them a few miles down. He was
elated, he was getting close.
He started to make quicker time, pushing himself to go fast. His foot
searched for the rocks eagerly and the hands felt a new sense of vigor
too. But then he stepped down on a rock and it broke from under him and
he started sailing down. He gripped the rope with all his strength.
His hands bled and it stained his rope. And he was still falling. He
started to slow the rope as he landed on a cliff.

He sighed in relief that he was still alive. He made a move to get up
but a pain shot from his leg to his brain and he screamed. His leg was
broken.

People were looking at him, he could see them point at him. Half an hour later a helicopter came up and released a rope with a stretcher bed at the bottom and men came down from the ladder and got him up from the rock and tied him to the stretcher.

In a few hours he was in a hospital. His leg bandaged and he was eating food again. His wife stands over him thanking God he is still alive while there are friends that semi-circle around his bed. They all watch as the tv talks about the dangerous rescue on the mountain that day. Someone shouts, “you lucky dog, you made it back.”

He was still very ill and weak but his faced beamed.  “Yeah,” was all he said.

 

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