The Mountain

It was there in the night that the inspiration finally took a firm grip and wouldn't let go.

I'd grown tired of poking and prodding at the bubble of success. My weak efforts were causing only the merest of dimples to form on that tenebrous surface. I'd need a sharper stick, more force, a heavier attitude. I'd have to start meaning it.

There's a lesson I started learning a long time ago, when I was a much younger person. I say started, as in I'm still in the process of learning it, because it's a very hard study. It's the kind of thing that I doubt I'll ever really get a complete handle on, at least in practical terms. It goes something like this: in order to rise we must first fall. The principle that things are rebuilt stronger after they're torn down. We don't spontaneously improve and get better. Evolution comes from understanding that we're not truly worthy of our desires.

Why it's impossible to master this hard teaching is in the simple human weakness of complacency. We're beings of comfort and we seek to rest on cozy plateaus. No one wants to climb forever, it's incredibly tedious and boring. We need to stop and at least bivouac from time to time, and savor the views and the heights of our accomplishments. The trouble lies in resting overlong at those waystations and potentially sliding back down the mountain. But always with the slide comes the reminder of that initial will to climb, and either we heed the call to the summit or we slip back down to the bottom, perhaps dashing our heads and spilling our brains out along the way.

This is one of the real keys to living. To learn to love the ascent and find new and important reasons to grasp for handholds and hoist our decaying carcasses further and further up the sides of whatever personal mountains we're trying to scale.

2014.07.01 – 2023.03.03

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