We stood on the precipice, our footsteps behind us and our path before us. On the rim of the mountain, the valley spread out before us, a magnificent tapestry of color in the early twilight. Our journey had been steeper and more arduous than we had thought; it took us far longer than we thought to reach this ledge.

The trail was said to be well marked, but the trailhead was foreboding. Within the first few steps we knew that it was anything but well marked and well maintained. Our progress slowed, our footfalls heavier under the burdens we bore. Despite the opposition of numerous brambles and thickets we slowly made progress. Up we went until the cathedral of trees broke into the staircase of boulders that marked our final phase. 

Fate had ordained the hardest part would stand between us and the summit. We trudged through the boulder field, tired, thirsty, blistered, but dogged. With each glimpse of our destination our hearts swelled and surged- our footing never sure, grew confidant. Behind us the dark brooding past seemed to be ready to swallow us up, but our gaze was fixed forward. 

Loose scree slipped under us as boulders gave way to vertigo inducing grade. Now backs were bent and hands were used to hold fast to the Earth, defying the consistent grip of gravity. We ignored the pain, the fear, and with jaws set and hearts free we walked up. The summit seemed almost fixed, but the path behind revealed the journey and gave meaning to every scratch and ache. 

We hit a cloud bank that enveloped us in a fog of ignorance. We could not see our path nor where to go. We set our feet true towards the summit, for the mountain itself told us the way. The clouds were thick, foreboding, often we heard a voice from within and from without telling us to turn back, the summit was too treacherous, the journey not worth the risk. We knew though, there was no turning back, that the path down the otherside was our only journey home, the only path we could take from here. 

At last, in glorious, resplendent sunshine our heads emerged from the clouds. We walked on now in the brilliant sunshine until finally our hands found no further handholds. I, in a moment of tension and trepidation looked over the ledge to the summit. In that moment the sun shone down as it did on the first day and my soul was gifted the spirit of liberation. I pulled myself along with my companions and together we took in the world at our feet- spread out in green and blue and puffs of white. 

I inhaled the sweet perfume of success, took in the setting sun, but looked down. For the summit has been reached, but that proved only the start of another journey to a land beyond. Down below the scree, the boulders , beyond the forests and roads lay but the future. 

I took a minute to pause, the journey never ends, but the struggle does lead to triumph. 

You might also enjoy: