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Brothers Ascending a Peak
Midsummer: at the base of a mountain trail stand two men, the air lukewarm, sky blue, earth green, and somewhere amongst this vastness the meaning of life. Shade covers skin under the line, but the older of the brothers still sweats--too many nights spent home in a recliner taking shots of whiskey and pondering all questions to a fruitless, circular end.
Why am I here? To do what I do. Why do I do what I do? Because I am here.
The air grows thin, the trail winds on, and the youngest walks with ease, in long, fluid strides, trying not to become agitated with his wheezing sibling. A large clearing running up the mountainside becomes visible, death of the large trees that had grown there for perhaps centuries, the result of an avalanche during winter months, no longer limber as the small spruces that survived, demise a result of their turgid, uncompromising power.
Now it is the weak’s turn to see the light and grow, become wicked in it, and oppress the lesser until they too are reminded of something stronger.
The men go on further to where a tree has fallen dead over the trail. The youngest in his lead steps it over, a large, exaggerated step. The elder, depleted one misinterprets the size of the corpse, stumbling on the far side of the log, gashing his leg on one of its pointy nubbins—a remnant of a severed tree limb.
Why do I bleed? Because I am here. Why am I here? So I can bleed.
The trees began to cease all together. Haggard looking shrubs sporadically dot the mountainside. A sheet of ice can be seen farther up covering the summit, a dying reminder of winter in summer's warmth.
What is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of life. What is what? What is the meaning of life. What is the meaning of life?
The youngest points to a furry, brown creature sunning itself on a rock. The elder can't see it. His stomach aches and the world swims around his head. He must lie down on the mossy ground, and from there he cannot see it either, cannot see the icy peak, only the confused entangled limbs of thorny bushes.