Walking up the steep incline of a dirty weed-strewn hill, I noticed a large grey rock protuding from the hillside 6 feet up. 6 feet up, a big fucking grey rock- sharp edges, marbled surface, hidden backside. A different me would have considered the rock to be a good stopping point, a nice place to sit in the shade and have a rest, maybe even take a nap, before trudging up the remainder of the near-vertical slope. But that would be a different me. Instead, I stood on the hard flat surface of the rock to get a better view of the hill I had been climbing. But in the time it took to examine the rock and climb atop it, a fog had rolled in and up the hill so that I could only see the last two or three steps I had taken. It was a thick threatening fog, but I didn't care. The past is past, so I hopped off the rock and continued the climb.
Approaching that moment, the one we're all waiting for, when we reach the top of the hill and finally FINALLY get to see what's up there, or better yet, what's on the other side, I began to get excited. So I moved faster, climbed harder; the hill became steeper but I was almost there, ALMOST THERE! Out of breath, out of patience, out of my head, and always always out of time, I climbed.
The glory in that last step is indescribable, red-faced and out of breath with sweat dripping down, knowing that everything you've climbed for, everything you've worked for has come to THIS. Your reward, the sweet reward for all the hard work and pain and sweat. I stepped that last step, I leaned over to catch my breath, savoring every passing second. "This is it," I thought. So I opened my eyes and with aching muscles but rapidly-flowing blood, I raised my head and torso and looked up. My anxious eyes scanned a vast green grassy clearing, with sharp grey rocks and brown moist dirt and knee-high weeds reaching up to get a taste of the sun.. Standing on the peak, the point I'd worked so hard to reach, so that I could see, see the future, the reward, what's ahead; I looked up. And there directly in front of me, out of view until this very moment.. Was another hill. Another hill with another peak. Another Fucking Hill With Another Fucking Peak...
And Surely, Surely that peak is The Ultimate Peak. From that Peak everything will be clear. I just have to make it to that Peak. That is the top of the mountain. I really thought this was the peak before, but now, now I'm sure. That is the top of the mountain.
As I began to step forward to climb again, I looked down to where my first footstep would land. There on the ground, amongst little grey pebbles and flailing green weeds and ancient brown dirt- was a single daisy plant. A pretty little flowering plant with three individual bright yellow daisy blossoms... Freshly flattened, freshly dead against the pebbly brown earth. Freshly dead from whatever foot had stepped there before.
A salty drop of blood left my chin, and, as if in slow motion, somersaulted through the cool breezy mountain air and landed perfectly on one of the crushed yellow petals. Red on yellow like a nature photographer's lucky day or a starving artist's twisted deprivation-daydream... Dove off my chin and landed there as if to say, "Leave me here; Leave me here with this flattened piece of near-ruined beauty; Leave Me Here Because I Give Up." For a split second I pondered where the blood came from because I felt no pain, but then the thought was gone so I stepped forward and moved on, and began to climb again.