The Mountain

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The Mountain

My friend, there is “The Mountain”.  I need to climb it even though no mortal man has ever made it to the top.  It’s my dream to tackle it even while knowing that I’ll never make it.  I mean come on, let’s be honest and look at the shape I’m in.  I sit behind a desk all day and rarely get in any formal exercise and to top it off  I’m already over 50.  What hope could a guy like me ever have in conquering such impenetrable slopes.  The weather alone is bad enough to drive most men back or at least keep them hunkered down in a base camp.  I’ve looked at it’s majesty ascending up into the clouds, the top forever obscured.  Oh we’ve heard some tales of hearty souls who say they’ve seen the peak, but none ever claimed to have actually stood at the top.  And those who do, well, we know most men scoff at them behind their backs while at the same time hanging on to every description shared, wondering if that truly is what awaits them.

But I want to go, I have to go.  The mountain calls out to me, beckoning me with it’s glorious mysteries.  As I’ve grown older it’s siren song has only become all the more relentless.  At times I’m almost giddy with the desire to start the ascent, but then I take pause and think of my merits and stop myself.  I now realize that I’ve waited far too long.  I cannot hope to make the climb on my own.  Yes, I know the truth.  I know that I never could have made it on my own.  But that doesn’t stop me from thinking of my youth and wondering what if I had started out back then?  Could I have made it? Maybe not, but how far would I have gotten?  Certainly farther than now.

I know you you know what I’m talking about.  You’ve seen it.  You’ve heard it call out to you just as strongly as I have.  You’ve gazed upon that which we can see with the same longings as I.  Tell me that I lie, you know you can’t.  I know that you’ve laid awake at night staring up at it and wept with the same desire to touch those ragged cliffs as I.  There is a pain in the yearning.  You can taste the rarefied air and feel it upon your face, but then you awaken from your slumber lamenting that you are still only in your bed and that the dream you had was only just that, a dream.

No more my friend.  No more.  No longer will I sit here wishing for something and not doing anything to gain it.  Yes I know I can’t make it alone, and neither can you.  Enough said on that matter, we all too painfully recognize our limitations.  But together, together what could we accomplish?  How far could we get?  And not just the two of us, but all the others as well.  We’ve all talked about this in the past.  I know there is a desire in all of us to make the ascent.  How can we know what will happen if we’re unwilling to try?  I need you to help me.  I need your shoulder as much as you need mine and we need to get the younger guys to go with us as well.  They have the energy and exuberance to help bolster us when the going gets tough.  In the same manner we can’t forget the older guys.  They’ve studied the mountains craggy peaks far longer than you or I.  They are sure to have insights that we might miss.

Yes, maybe I am crazy, but I believe with all my heart we can do this if we only band together and try.  Will you come with me?  Will you help me gather the others?


  1. The Unfettered Monk
    The Unfettered Monk01-15-2013

    I sit here looking at all of the climbing gear I’ve purchased over the years. I think about all of the mini-climbs I’ve taken. What about all of the misstarts and tumbles? How many times have I found myself hanging by my belay line having crashed once again against the cliffside only to lower myself once more to the comfort of the basecamp?
    Oh yes, brother, how I stare at the peaks with intoxicating anguish. I look at my old broken and scarred body, my crippled legs and weak arms and ask “Do I dare try again?”….. haltingly, I reach out my hand and pull myself up. I fit on my climbing harness … oh how heavy it feels… slowly grimacing I tighten each buckle… I don my helm and gloves. Can I? Dare I? The snow blinds. The winds rips and cuts. The cold bites and burns. Reaching out my hand again I grope along…And now, a hand on my shoulder. A whisper in my hear. “You’re not alone.” I weep. I hope. I rise. I press on. I reply, humbly, “Thank you.” The climb begins again…..

    • Rong

      Thanks brother. I was looking at this from only the lens of men leading men wholly forgetting the pre-eminent mountaineer who has already conquered the blistering heights set before us, not only leaving us with a map but giving us his lead sherpa as well.

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