Short Story of Ambition, Determination & Realisation; Response to Bill Holland's writing challenge

Challenges

It seems we all love a challenge. There’s something in the human psyche that can’t resist one! Writing challenges are wonderful. They make us look at specifics, they channel our thoughts, they inspire in so many ways and a remarkable amount of unique responses are generated.

This story is in response to billybuc's (Bill Holland's) challenge to write a story or poem using a specific title, inspired by a specific photo (below). You can read his challenge here. My thanks to bill for issuing this challenge and for continuing his inspiration and encouragement to writers everywhere.

The Woman on the Mountaintop

The Woman on the Mountaintop
The Woman on the Mountaintop | Source

The Woman on the Mountaintop

She stood there, shielding her eyes, stretching to eye the summit of that intriguing mountain in the distance. Had anyone ever trudged there, caught her breath in the heady air? Had anyone touched that cold white toupee covering its summit, felt that icy blue on her skin? Had anyone looked down from that peak to the land spread far below, feeling Queen of her Kingdom yet remote from the world, able to reach the heavens?

She was close to the top of the world. What would it be like to actually reach it, to conquer, to achieve, to revel in the praise of fellow woman and man. Wouldn’t it be glorious, to be famous, lauded, maybe even remunerated for her story? It would be a slog but she could do it, couldn’t she? Hard work wasn’t alien to her.


What do I have to Do?

Pondering as her eyes swept the landscape, “Let’s see, what would it entail?

  • Getting super-fit,
  • grafting to earn money to finance the climb,
  • asking my family to support me,
  • going without treats to help me save,
  • eating healthily to strengthen my body,
  • planning my equipment and my journey.”

Standing looking towards her hopes and dreams, she felt elation at the prospect of conquering that far off tableau. It would take a while to get there. It would take months to reach the goal, to satisfy her yearning to beat all others.

For that's what it was, a yearning to be the best, to be recognised for an achievement, to just once have that fifteen minutes of fame. She felt that her life was lacking for the want of an ambition realised.


Following Plans

This woman went home to start her plans. She isolated herself for hours, scribbled lists, numbered pennies. She talked to her family about her plans, she enthused, she told them how she wanted to shine, to be famous. She was part-way down the line, up the slope to her mountaintop.

One day soon after the declaration of her intentions, her youngest child, somewhat bemused by her words, looked at her and said, “Mummy, what did you mean when you said you wanted to shine?”

“It means someone is special, they’ve managed to do something that no-one else has achieved, they’ve done better than others trying for the same thing.”


a Shining Smile
a Shining Smile

You're Special, Mummy

“Oh,” said the child. “Well, I think you are special, Mummy. You do all sorts of things for us that no-one else does. You’re a much better Mummy than my friends’ Mums. Your smile shines like the sun when you’re happy and we’re having fun. You make me feel happy too.”

The woman who’d stood gazing longingly at that mountaintop stopped. Her intense gaze at her son changed into a smile that lit up his life, reflected her soul, showed him how wonderful life was.

Tears of joy filled her eyes. Then she realised.


Change of Heart

Standing looking down at her son, at her hopes and dreams, she felt elation at the prospect of her future. It would take a while to get there. It would take years to reach all her goals, but she no longer wanted to beat anyone, to be revered for any of her actions.

This woman made another journey to look across to that distant mountaintop. She enjoyed the view, the beauty of her surroundings, the joy of the fresh air, but this time she didn’t long to touch that peak above the clouds. Her present life was far more precious than a sudden whim. Did she not have already what many others lacked? Did she need recognition? Did she need remuneration? No.

So she wouldn’t plan for any equipment, for any journey. All she needed for her journey in life was already here. She had her family, her friends and her happiness. There was nothing as valuable as that, nothing to reach for that surpassed that; nothing as meaningful, as rewarding, as the goal of caring for, giving to and loving all those around her.


Family & Friends
Family & Friends | Source

Fit, Healthy & Happy

Getting fit she could attain without climbing a mountain. She knew how to work hard, to save money, and, with her husband, to provide their family with all they needed. Her family supported her without question, whatever she was doing.

Treats were saved for special achievements, for special events, but they didn’t matter. Life was good anyway. Her treat was seeing smiles on the faces of her children, her husband, her friends. Eating healthily was sensible and they had wonderful fresh produce from their garden, from their self-sufficient life-style; it was second nature to her.

She had nearly spoilt it, before her precious child had jolted her senses.


All you need is Love

She had it all. She had love. She was already a woman on top of the world.



Copyright annart (AFC 2014)

No part of this text or any of the photos are to be reproduced or changed without my permission. Attribution to 'annart @ annart.hubpages.com'


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Comments 40 comments

annart profile image

annart 18 months ago from SW England Author

Audrey: Thank you for such a lovely comment and the sharing etc. I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

Ann


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 18 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Hi Ann - How great you art. It is so wonderful to write about having so many things you want in life that you do not have to have a great achievement. It is a surprise ending which makes your selection so miraculous. Thank you for sharing your writing challenge response. Pinning. Blessings, Audrey


annart profile image

annart 24 months ago from SW England Author

alancaster149: Indeed; physical climbing is definitely not for me! More of us should value what we have and the role we play, I think.

Thanks for your comment; much appreciated.

Ann


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 24 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

Sympathetic treatment, shows we don't actually have to storm the north face of the Eiger to be 'special'.

Different way of getting there, Ann


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thank you Kevin. What a lovely comment and thank you for the votes.

Ann


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 2 years ago

That was beautiful Ann, I loved the way that you turned her dreams around in mid-stream. I voted up, shared and pinned it.

Kevin


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

write-with-coffee: Thank you! I'm glad you liked this. I find that the influence of children is so strong, especially now that I have grandchildren!

Thanks for reading.

Ann


write-with-coffee profile image

write-with-coffee 2 years ago from Bangalore

This was a beautiful story, Ann. I loved the ending.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

manatita: Thanks for the great comment. 'Cool' suits me fine! Glad you liked it. Once again, the variety of responses are amazing, though not that surprising when one thinks of the originality of the writers here on hubpages.

Ann


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thank you, Nell. Good to see you. Apologies for my delay in replying - problems with internet!

Thanks for visiting today. All the best.

Ann


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 2 years ago from london

Refreshing approach, Ann. Quite different from the couple I've read so far. Perhaps so it should be. Felt a more thoughtful approach from the standpoint of a woman. A bit of 'mummy; child, planning, dreaming ...

A kind of family orientated one. Cute and sweet. Cool!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

Another great story in the challenge, and yes you are so right, sometimes our children say the one thing that can change our whole way of thinking, loved it!


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

AliciaC: Thank you for your kind comment. I'm glad you enjoyed this.

Ann


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

There is a beautiful message in this hub, Ann. Thank you very much for reminding us of its importance!


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Harishprasad: Thank you for your kind and insightful comment. I'm glad you enjoyed this. Thanks also for the votes and for sharing.

Ann


Harishprasad profile image

Harishprasad 2 years ago from India

Ann, this is a lovely story and is having a great message to all hard pressed guys,bent on becoming special and unique in life in order to be appreciated by all. You have shown the other side of the coin of life - to seek pleasure in even small things, one's own kids, caring and small pursuits. Great tale and wonderful response and a lot to ponder after reading this fascinating story of a woman who found her summit. I love your approach to life. Thank you very much. Voted up and shared.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thank you Faith. I do hope your husband is well on the way to recovery; a detached retina is a nasty thing. All my best to him.

I know! It's amazing how many responses to hub challenges there are at the moment. It is indeed difficult to read them all; I'm still making my way round too! No need to apologise for taking your time.

Always happy to see you here with your wonderful support, Faith. Thank you for your lovely comment and for the votes.

Ann


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Oh, Ann, I truly love your creative version of "The Woman on the Mountaintop" as it truly does reflect how are views of life's wants change as life goes on, and we truly discover the beauty of life is in our daily, ordinary life, filled with love of family and friends.

I have been slowly making my way to all of the wonderful responses to both great challenges. I am a bit behind due to my hubby having emergency eye surgery yesterday due to a detached retina. I am sorry that I almost missed your wonderful response to Bill's challenge. There are so many to keep up with and try not to miss!

Very exciting.

Voted up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

Hugs


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

lambservant: Thank you so much. Glad you liked it. Your visit is much appreciated.

Ann


lambservant profile image

lambservant 2 years ago from Pacific Northwest

Wonderful story. "...cold white toupee covering its summit..." Classic.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

bravewarrior: Thank you so much. Yes, I learn a lot from my grandchildren. They have such a fresh, honest outlook on the world and they tell it like it is! Thanks for stopping by.

Ann


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida

This is a beautiful story, Ann. Often we don't realize that we have everything we need and that we shine in someone's eyes. Children are so wise. We can learn a lot from them, as the woman in your story did.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

lrc7815: Thank you for your wonderfully kind comment. I appreciate the link too. Love within family and friends is worth so much more than following whimsical dreams that seem important at the time but don't really last.

Thanks for visiting today!

Ann


lrc7815 profile image

lrc7815 2 years ago from Central Virginia

What a beautiful response to Bill's challenge and an amazing tribute to the sacrifice women make every day while making that trek up the mountain. Voted up and awesome and linking to my own response to Bill's challenge.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thank you, Jo, for your kind words. I'm glad you liked this. Yes, love is everything and can change the world.

Ann


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Ann, an exceptional response to Bill's challenge. They say that love can move mountains, in this case, it took her right up to the summit of her life. This woman as you've stated, had love, she was already a woman on the top of the world.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thanks, MsDora. I'm glad you enjoyed this.

Ann


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

"Her treat was seeing smiles on the faces of her children, her husband, her friends. " I like that. This is a story of confidence, love and selflessness--characteristic of women on the mountaintop. Enjoyable!


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thanks, Iris. Yes, it's amazing how many different approaches there are. That's what makes it so exciting. I love responding to hubbers' challenges and it's fun issuing some of my own too!

Have a great weekend!

Ann


Iris Draak profile image

Iris Draak 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

Ann, what a great way to answer the challenge. I love to read these challenges and answers. Nice job. :)


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thank you indeed, Frank. Yes, the photo was a great prompt from which to work. Glad you liked this.

Ann


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

DreamingBoomer: What a lovely comment; thank you. You're most welcome. I love doing this sort of thing and it's so exciting to see the results.

Hope you have a good day.

Ann


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

the mountain top goal ... the idea presented via photo .. is fantastic.. and your entry is superb


DreamingBoomer profile image

DreamingBoomer 2 years ago from Jackson, MS

Inspiring, as you are. Thanks for starting us all on this fun challenge journey...


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thank you, John, for reading and for the votes. Glad you liked it.

Ann


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Voted up.

Amazing Ann, what a perfect message. Great job.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

always exploring: Yes, it's amazing how some of us don't realise what we have until someone points out how lucky we are.

Thanks for your lovely comment. I'm so glad you liked this and I appreciate your visit today.

Ann


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

All she needed was her child telling her she was special to realize she had already reached the mountain top. Beautiful Ann. I loved your story.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thanks, bill. I hope Bev likes it as well.

Actually, seeing as it's a photo of Bev, I based some of it on what I've gleaned about her through your writing, so I'm really pleased it came across like that! Hope that wasn't being cheeky. Part of it is my daughter too!

I'm glad you liked it. I've read most, if not all, of the others so far and the standard is amazing. Difficult to keep up!

Thanks again for this challenge, bill - I've enjoyed writing my contribution.

Happy Thursday!

Ann


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Oddly, Ann, you could be talking about Bev in your beautiful story. Bev raised four kids, practically by herself...worked incredibly long hours, sacrificed, gave of herself constantly for thirty years....she reached the mountaintop, and yet there are times she doesn't realize it, and feels that she has fallen short of making a difference.

I'll be sharing this lovely story with her. Thank you dear friend, and bravo!

bill

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