Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pride

So in a recent poem I wrote: "Love gives you intense vertigo then forces you to free-climb mountains," yesterday I learned that pride and love share at least one super-power.

At the base of a peak

of exposed granite

and broken boulders

reaching up

600 feet (100 meters),

my fear of heights

finds its trumpet call.


My nostrils flare,

my jaw clinches,

and my eyes

(hidden under

dark sunglasses)

get wide.


The middle-aged woman

on the side of the trail

lounging beside a rock

to escape the wind

tells us her twelve-year-old

is on the other side of the scramble.


We are five women

and myself.

They charge forward

to conquer the challenge;

under my breath

I let a singular

impotent profanity

drop, then

follow after them.


We crawl through

cracks and crevices

with large drops

under precarious

footholds.


The ladies stop

for photo-shoots

while I try and think

happy (low) thoughts:

football fields, beaches,

and prairies—things

you can not fall off.


We pass the twelve-year-old,

who is bouncing down the mountain

with a grin. He comments about

the strange population of ladybugs

at the top. I curse to myself.


If I were alone

I would be sitting

safely

on a sturdy rock

staring up at sparse clouds.

But a child

got to the top,

and I’m with five girls

and apparently I still have

some chauvinist in me.


So

instead of peacefully sunbathing

in the midst of

a picturesque, snow-covered

alpine meadow

I’m biting my tongue

and going up,

when everything in me

wants to go back down

(in a controlled

and cautious manner).


On the summit

I stare between

my legs at

black lichen,

try to restrain myself

from barking at the girls

to be more careful

and back away from the edge.


Here in a “mountain-top moment”

I reflect on what got me to this point

and conclude:


My pride

is harder to

mute than

my fear—

which may not

be something

to be proud of.


This is the mountain we climbed.

1 comment:

C7 said...

That hike looks pretty damn mental. I don't think I could have done it.