The Woman on The Mountaintop - Been There
Response to Billybuc's Challenge
In answer to a writing challenge from Billybuc using the sweet picture of his wife standing on the glory of a mountaintop, looking away from the viewer, with her hands clasped above her head.
The Pull of the Mountain
I drove way up the mountain in the old Nova that purred like a drunken cat on the steep corners but she's never let me down. Reliable Betty is what I called her. I don't know why I took that single lane gravel road. Maybe I thought I could disappear in the mountain trees. The summer was seeming pretty long to me. When was it going to be over? When would the fall finally get here and when would the dreadful day come? I think it was the worry in the back of my mind trying to get out that made me turn Betty's wheel down that cow path of a road, up the mountain.
My day was filled with details that needed my attention and my shopping list laid on the seat beside me and my phone held voicemails from my boss and his boss and the bank and my insurance agent and my friends. Still, I blew out a huge sigh and continued on my unplanned drive. I shut off my phone and turned off the radio. I felt the pull of the mountain and the stretch of my heart. My chest hurt like I was going to suffocate if I didn't get away, if I didn't get up that mountain.
Walking to the View
After several minutes driving through the darkened canopy, the road passed by a hiking path that I had walked with my sister when we were young. The hours we spent romping and hunting in woods and meadows would fill up a calendar. We loved building forts in the trees and following critters to their hideaways and trying to catch the fish or frogs or crawdads in the stream. I stopped Betty and backed her up carefully pulling off the road without tumbling into the ditch but the back passenger side lost a thin blue line of paint scratching the tree bark. Damn. My heart was beating harder, it can't stretch any further or it'd bust.
I stumbled out of the car and half walked half jogged first down the path and then up through the forest toward the lookout point. It's a good half hour walk, when you have a mission on your mind.
I didn't stop at the rock formation nor try to see the fox den. The roots growing across the path kept my attention. I did stop a moment to watch the water clear the rocky streambed. I didn't look for the sun or the clouds. I didn't even know what the weather was supposed to be that day. When did I stop caring what the weather was going to be? My pace slowed a little. The thinning evergreens signaled I was getting close to the view.
Walking up that path had been a half hour of my life. It might as well have been six months. Was it six months?
The trees opened up to a grassy edge. The view from the mountaintop always took my breath away. That day it gave me my breath.
I wrung my hands together. How far can sadness stretch a heart? How could you be gone? What am I supposed to do? What am I supposed to feel? I'm exhausted from being on the defense. I miss you. How am I going to be happy again? Where am I going to go? You used to be the safe place I could call home. Where am I going to go? You used to finish my sentences. Finish my sentence now - how am I supposed to ...?
I was doubled over when my wringing hands clasped in prayer. How am I supposed to pray? Slowly, I stood up and raised my hands. I raised them above my head and breathed in the strength. The stretching stopped. Was it you who touched my heart? Was it the Lord? Was it the mountaintop?
Woman on the mountaintop. Been there.
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A Writing Challenge: The Woman on the Mountaintop
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