Rungs

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There is a ladder in front of me. I am on the ground with one foot on the first rung and my sweaty hands gripping the ladder. I want to climb it so that I can see farther. I am tired of living on the ground. Yet on the ground there is no place to fall. I take that back, I’ve fallen flat on my face on the ground before. Not fun. Trust me. It took a minute for me to come around. When I realized I was lying on the ground, I stood up.

So now…do I climb? It’s not hard, all I have to do is pick up my left foot and put it on the rung where it belongs, next to the right one. That would mean leaving the ground, loosing control, depending on something else. I do it for myself; left foot up, up and away. I need to experience it. I giggle. I did it! The ladder isn’t tipping; I don’t have to step off. I convince myself to take another step. Exhale. I am proud of myself. My chest expands. This is what I want to do so I take the third step. Hands up, right foot up and left foot follows. I am shaking from the exhilaration. I look around. The world looks bright and new. I am seeing the same things, but they look so much different, better, from this view. “I’m alive,” I shout to the air, just because I can. Surely this is living. I smile in the breeze. I laugh at the ground. I did it myself. I never want to go back down. Joy like rushing water just released from a dam, surges through me.

Then a voice calls to me, “Come farther. The view gets better.” I start up. My right foot then the left joins it. One step, two steps. “I’m coming.” The voice tells me I’m his friend. I talk back, delighted that someone took an interest in me. The breeze lifts my hair and dances it across my face and to the side. “You can’t have me wind,” I say. Nobody can have me. I look around; I’m level with the middle of the trees, the tops are dancing, the squirrels scamper around, all to the music in my head. I’m enjoying myself; breathing deeply, as if for the first time. The music breaks out of me. I don’t know what I’m singing, I’m just singing because I can’t keep the excitement and utter happiness inside. And why should I? I feel free, the earth has no control. I make my own life.

The voice speaks again. I like the way it sounds. I like what it says. I don’t say the same things back, but I can’t help but like hearing them. I’m drawn to the voice. He says to come on up. I go. Right foot on the next rung, left oversteps the right to the rung above. Then right skipping the left and venturing farther, to the next one. I’m at the top of the world! This is a wee bit scary, but the risk makes me feel more alive and giddier. I laugh; I am great and wonderful. Doesn’t the voice think so? The voice doesn’t respond. My heart skips and sinks. Where did he go? Did he leave me? Well the voice will be back, right? I long to hear it. I look around. There are still things to do. I take another step and start to bring back the joy. I’m special. I watch the birds fly in the sky. I’m in the sky. The thought makes me smile, then I frown I wonder if the voice is talking to someone else.
“Hey there,” he says. I smile so big, because I missed the voice. As I climb onward, I look up and the ladder never ends. I can forever go higher, leave the world, not abide by its rules, but mine. Left over right, up and up. He says it would be funny if I let go with one hand. I laugh so hard. Yes, that would be hilarious wouldn’t it? I let go. I am giggling as I wave one hand around. Oh, an idea. I climb another step only holding with one hand. I do it again while looking out. How cool! He is telling me I’m amazing and I feel it. Just to impress him I pick my right foot up and swing it through the air. Then I reach up with my foot. Plop. “Eak” It comes back down with a jolt. No rung.
“Watch yourself,” the voice says caringly. I look up the next one is just above my head, I can reach it with my hands. “Should I go for it?” I ask. But he doesn’t reply. “How ‘bout it?” No answer. I panic. I’m alone. He left me. I try to look around and enjoy myself, but there is nothing around: no trees, no birds, no earth, nothing in front of me. I’m empty and alone. Where are all the things that are familiar, that I love? I left them behind, pursuing the voice, and now he’s gone. Gone where? My confidence drops down to my shoes. He left, but I thought I was special.
Suddenly I realize: I’m not controlling my life. Was I ever? The wind comes. It’s not playing anymore, because I ignored it. It’s mad. I realize how unstable it is way up here as I feel the wind tearing at me, swaying me. I’m not strong. I look up frightened. I can’t get up to the next rung. I can hold it, but I can’t pull myself up. Wait. I could try, but it is so far and my feet would have the leave the rung below to push off. If I tried I could be left dangling. Why do I want to go on up anyway? What’s up there? The voice. I want to reach him. I clutch the sides of the ladder and look around and down. I am shaking: to scared to step down. Did I use to feel free up here? I am stricken with fear. Trapped: can’t go up or down. I cry out, “What do I do?” My voice is small. No voice answers. I want to cry. I am choking, my throat feels like it is closing and I can’t breath. My stomach squirms and my chest contracts. My legs are visibly shaking. “Stop that, legs.” I can’t control them. Why do they shake so violently?
The wind comes and cold cuts into me. I desperately grab for the ladder. It sways. Oh no, no, no, s***, NO. The wind pushes me. It tries to tear me off, so I throw myself at the ladder. It starts to move sideways. I try to pull back on the ladder to correct it. It can’t fall, I’m way up here. It tips backwards. Back and back, and I can’t hold on! And that’s when I learned, I’m not free from earth’s rules, even way up here. Gravity yanks!
Yes, there is pain, but for now I just lie, loving the ground.





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♥Megan♥ said...
Apr. 14, 2009 at 2:11 am
Rebecca! You did such a great job! I love this one, really.
 
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