frigid, words

his hands reach over the edge and with a grunt of exertion he pulls himself up

always up

down is death

at every new cliff he hopes to see the horizon but all that is in view is another craggy wall to climb

he repeats his mantra

always up

down is death

the things he has lost on this journey

the people left behind because they could not climb any farther

the thinning air

echoed thoughts of failure, of hope, of longing and loss

thick callouses cover his hand and he doesn’t even feel the red run down scraped knuckles

broken nails and bruised shins are a way of life at this point

the thick gray clouds above hide another perfect day

the sun, the sin, the safety of blue skies and warm rays

a drink from the ever dwindling water supply, another granola bar from the near empty stash

deep breath as he hooks his fingers into the face of granite before him as he has a thousand times before

always up

down is death

his father told him to keep moving

when you stop you concede defeat, you allow doom to pinpoint you, keep those feet moving, that back breaking and the reaper will never know no your location

he died of a heart attack one morning while reading the paper

he sat still for too long and it all caught up to him

he keeps a vial of his ashes on his aching hip

a reminder to keep going

eventually there must be a glimmer of paradise up here

among the bitter cold and lashing winds

hope is a candle wick bent in the breeze

dreams are for those that sleep

the mountain is all that is real, that is tangible, that is here and now and meant to be conquered

or so he tells himself

with cramping muscles and vertigo

always up

down is death

the frigid truth is none of it matters

he realized that twenty cliffs ago

there is no end to the cold, to the rain, to the sorrow

it is a blanket of snow in sub-zero temps, no longer soft and malleable but frozen solid

a mirage of easier times

some are meant to settle, some are meant to soar

he was born to climb

always up

for down is death

3 thoughts on “frigid, words

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