Heart of the Mountain

Mountain up ahead

She refuses to be possessed. Still, you should be wanting to possess her. To conquer her. As far as what man can accomplish, not many moments can topple the exhilaration of reaching where you by nature’s design shouldn’t really be setting foot.

There is a time and place, in the valleys ice carved long ago, crawling up steep slopes, the jagged rocks hurting your feet, where it’s no longer about what obstacle the mountain sets in your path. Up high, where the air is thin and crisp and bites your nose as you breathe it, the only hurdle is what your mind imagined was the best you can do.

The realization you can do more catches you off guard then, like the sudden gust of wind out of nowhere pushing you towards the edge while you walk a narrow ledge. Yet, to your own surprise, you’re still there, clinging on.

Oh, it hurts, albeit not in ways you would imagine it does (although she reserves plenty of bodily hurt too). It is perplexing how this is hurt you consciously and welcomingly invite onto yourself. But you do and there is more of the same, the higher you climb. Then some, when you look back whence you came and realize you will have to climb back down, later. We are odd creatures, to heap this on ourselves.

But you glance above and, lo and behold, there she is. Not far away now. She taunts you, towering haughtily above. Dares you to do one better. And you oblige.

Still, there comes a moment you must admit defeat. The instant where your knee gives up, instead of your mind, and you come to the realization that, to her, you are but an insignificant dot on the rocky path upwards. She is a harsh mistress, the mountain. Fickle too, her mood swings legendary. All sunny and warm in the morning, tempestuous come afternoon. Uncompromising, punishing those unprepared or those too cocky. Occasionally reminding us all, “not today”.

Only for you to come back tomorrow.

The mountain will never be mine to own, nor conquer, I am certain. Nor would I presume as much. Best I can hope for is hoard a piece of her within me. Until the tomorrow comes.

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