She Raised Her Eyes...

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She raised her eyes to the steep climb before her. The mountainside was gray and lifeless, only giant boulders and the occasional dying plant. No trees could be seen because the mountain was well beyond the tree line. Only the trail cut through the landscape. Her eyes followed the trail as it twisted and formed switchback after switchback until it was visible no more. The top was barely observable; at least she could see where the descent down began.
She sighed to herself, and started to walk. She sunk into the sand and rock mixture that was the trail. She felt the pebbles grind into nothingness underneath her shoe. As she walked she kept her head down, not wanting to see how much more mountain she had in front of her. Her breathing became frequent and shallow. As she reached a decent-sized boulder she threw her pack off and sat down. She glanced down to where she had begun and to her disappointment she had not come far at all. To her, it had felt she had been walking for miles and yet very little had been accomplished. She turned to the rest of trail; it seemed so much farther now! She sat for a little while more in frustrated silence. Then she continued trudging up the mountain. The straps on her pack felt like they were cutting deeper into her shoulders with every step. She shifted the pack on her shoulders, she already wanted to stop and rest again. She sucked in the thin, dry air that was so characteristic of the mountains. She wanted to be anywhere but here. Her eyes moved up the trail, her feet unwilling to follow them. Once again her pack came off and she flopped down on the nearest boulder. “This is madness,” she heard herself thinking. She shut her eyes and enjoyed the deep, calming blackness that they
brought. Her eyes opened and she checked her position against that of the rest of the mountain. Surprise came upon her face, for she seemed very near to the point where the trail began to descend. All she had to do was make it around the sharp outcropping that lay some yards ahead.
At first she hurried her steps to get there but quickly tired. Her steps slowed and she tried to pace herself and her breathing. This part of the trail was littered with sharp rocks, making her footing less secure than before. She had to spend great concentration on her foot placement between the rocks. Then she found herself at the outcropping, all she had to do was follow the trail around it. Excitement flowed through her veins. She came around the outcropping and looked straight ahead. But instead of seeing a wonderful summit view, the mountainside stood in front of her, mocking her, more rocky and treacherous than before.





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