This life’s journey can seem hard. No–it IS hard! In some ways life is meant to be hard (but not cruel or brutal) because it is through struggle and effort that we learn and grow, that we become better selves. So often I have resisted the upward climb in my life. My legs ache. My lungs burn. I feel fatigued. I just want to rest. And it’s ok to rest when needed, so long as we keep an upward direction. Learning new skills. Solving tough problems. Choosing to forgive. These expand our minds and hearts. These ennoble and redeem. So, focus on that beautiful mountain top, and climb!
TO THE MOUNTAIN
The wind blows cold upon this mountain:
you reach out frigid fingers
to winch me up, to the summit,
but I refuse and split my stupid shin
on an unforgiving stumbling stone.
The air rests thin upon this mountain:
I suck and gasp with each heavy foot fall,
glancing away from your easy smile;
shin blood congeals;
the mucous freezes in my nose.
A smell sits rank upon this mountain,
from so many pissing travelers
and their perennial flotsam of tumbling toilet paper,
jagged aluminum cans, jolly rancher wrappers,
plastic bottles that will last a millennium.
Blue lupine, firecracker penstemon, Indian paintbrush, golden columbine, fireweed, asters,
daisies, monkeyflower, beard tongue, shooting star:
you redeem this mountain,
remind and rebuke;
you sing the beautiful song
to the beat of sheep hoofs
and the chirps of pikas and marmots.
You sing the beautiful song.
(Photo of Mt. Timponogos, Utah, in July, by the author.)