To The Mountain

sandia trailThe mountain should be getting closer, but it seems to be as illusive as ever. Using the utility pole as a point of reference, I keep thinking that I’ve made some progress, but the foothills of the mountain are no closer than they were a half hour ago.

If I just put one foot in front of the other and keep moving, I should be able to reach the cool shade of the forested hillsides that I can see in front of me. Instead of scrub and grassland, I could be protected by the larger trees and feeling the cool breezes that rush down the mountainside.

Maybe it’s because the trail meanders so, following the ridge tops but never in a straight line. It really is one step forward, three steps sideways. My boots crunch on the sandy, well-worn path, but the occasional stretch of loose rocks on top of caliche-like hardpan make it imperative that you keep your eyes down in order to stay on firm footing.

Like oxbows on a river, I can see the path before me winding back and forth. I know that the land is rising in elevation, but the sensation is so subtle that it’s easy to miss. If you stop to take a sip of water, you can look back at how far you’ve come. The trailhead where you started is long gone from sight and the buildings that seemed so close at sandia trailthe start have become small markers on a distant landscape.

The sun will rise soon and bring with it the heat of the day. That’s when I will be even more anxious to reach the shelter of the forest treeline. Loop after loop in the trail seem to be put there to slow down my assault on the mountain. Others have walked this way and made it to the mountain, and that knowledge gives me renewed conviction to continue my trek.

Is the mountain a metaphor for how we struggle for intimacy or success only to be discouraged by a lack of progress? Or is it just a damn mountain and we should quit bitching and keep walking? I already know the answer.

I just keep walking.



Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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