Mountaineering for Those Who Know
I lost more progress today. I can feel it.
Finger-hold, toe-hold, inch by inch.
Every up is a blood-smeared victory; every down, a cruel reminder of how many more bruising victories I will have to achieve to claw my way back to the height just I slipped from.
Doubly so, because slips invariably occur because a hand-hold crumbles, meaning new ones have to be found – a more circuitous route negotiated.
Yet, unfairly, every inch I raise myself remains just that: An inch.
Just one inch.
“You look exhausted, today.”
Oh… do I?
Tomorrow, I have to be ‘good’ and calm and witty and ‘normal’…
Conscious, at all times, of the social spirit-level fixed to the deck of their sunny, sea-level boat, while my real self precariously clings on in high winds, far above.
So, I must try to set the pitons firmly in the powdering, sandstone face of my sanity.
Maintain that conscious effort to keep any signs of strain from my face or voice.
Today, even the thought of tomorrow sends the blood pooling to my feet.
And these are people I love.
Are these people who must be spared the knowing or, gods forbid, the experience of my personal purgatory?
They are people who endure their own, in their own way. Who am I to invite them to share mine, too?
Some might chide, (with unintended irony), “Get a grip!”
Worse, still, others might express pity or guilt, unintentionally adding these to the weight of my pack.
Therefore, tomorrow, my marionette is a mariner.
“Then… why are you up there, all alone and climbing?”
Because everyone is born into a random landscape. This is where I was born. I think I was climbing before I could walk.
“What, then, are you climbing towards?”
There is no ‘towards’. I climb because I need to stay ‘above’.
“But, why expend so much of your energy just to do that?”
Because I’ve been down there before.
I know what awaits when I let go.