I stood atop the mountain and the wind blew across my face, a subtle reminder that I had indeed made it. Not made it in the sense that I had ascended into the heavens and was closer than most men to brushing hands with God himself, I excuse that poetic bullshit from my writings of adventure. No, I mean made it in the sort of way that a guy thrusts his fist into the air after his first kiss. The way a single mother with two kids smiles as a tear runs down her cheek when she is notified she got the job. I made it. I sat down and screwed open the top of my water bottle. It wasn't silent, like my friend had told me it would be. The wind a few hundred feet below me was a howling whisper, if you can imagine that sort of a thing. I was above the worst of it, sitting over even the clouds. No, what I heard was like the soft hum of a jet engine on a red-eye flight, just before the sun breaches the horizon. I heard what a sailor might hear on a calm day at sea, not a dark cloud above or a crested wave below. I took out my speaker and put on some Bob Dylan. As he harmonized with his harmonica and strummed his acoustic, I realized something. What we do can't be defined by size or duration or satisfaction or pleasure. It can't be weighed, counted, priced, or valued. It can only be experienced, and what we go through either leaves us down on the ground, or climbing a mountain. You experience enough of that, I mean just experience it, you may find yourself sitting atop that pile of stone, looking down at the Earth and up at the heavens, and finding yourslef somewhere in between. Not quite with the clouds, but not exactly surpassing the boundaries of the atmosphere. Your own spot on this Earth. Not your own in the sense that you are the sole proprietor of that spot. No, you own it in the sense that a young man owns the moment of his first kiss. The way a single mother owns her first chance at turning life around for her family. The sort of ownership that comes with the responsibility of life, your own life, and how you chose to experience it.
Atop a Mountain
August 6, 2015