The Woman on the Mountaintop (writing challenge)
Are you ready to spread your writing wings and fly?
Meeting billybuc’s writing challenge
Sometimes we need a trigger to set our creativity on fire. Picture prompts do that for me and billybuc fires me up more than anyone has to date. This is my response to his most recent challenge.
The Woman on the Mountaintop
Once I realized I was on the mountaintop I could breathe again. I don’t know how I got here or what sent me to my refuge. All I know is this time it was different. I knew it when I took inventory of my aching body. My jeans were torn. My hair was full of displaced Earth and gravel. And I was bleeding.
But it doesn't matter. I’m in my happy place. This is where I belong.
This is where I go to find peace. Lord knows our world is ravaged with anything but, but I have my special place and this is it. When I’m atop the Blue Ridge mountains, I’m close to God. I hear the wind as the birds swirl and sway in their dance below the clouds. I smell the evergreens. I smell the Earth. I feel my soul.
Not many people think about their souls. They’re too busy building their empires and pushing their children into the mindsets that will achieve their selfish long-forgotten rites of passage, in an effort to ease their own guilt.
There’s nothing as free as inhaling the sounds of nature and breathing its life. Yes, I meant to say ‘inhaling the sounds of nature’. You see, until you’re up here intaking fresh air, listening to the sounds of trees swaying in the breeze, comingled with birdsong, you cannot fathom the ultimate beauty of life that I inhale when I’m here.
One More Cup of Coffee (to the valley below)
In the valley below
“This just in: A woman was beaten to death in front of a homeless shelter in Ashville, North Carolina. Our reporters have discovered that her name is Sheila McIntyre. We have not been able to locate her family and request the help of our viewers.
“From what we have determined, Sheila was known for advocating for the homeless even though she was homeless herself. She’d give up her space in a shelter for others who needed the room; those who had children, those who were immobile, and those who just needed a safe place to rest for the night.
“Sadly, her body was found behind a dumpster close to the shelter. We pray for her and reach out to you for any information you may be able to give regarding the murder of Sheila McIntyre.”
Before the news hit the airwaves, people gathered around Sheila’s body. Homeless folks, local proprietors, and the curious formed a semi-circle around her frail, beaten frame. One lone soul started softly singing, Kumbaya. Soon, the neighborhood was filled with a cacophony of voices. “Kumbaya, my Lord, Kumbaya. Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya”.
As the melody rose, Sheila’s wounds healed. The stronger the voices became, the less pain she felt until she was once again at one with the peace of the mountaintops.
Discover Sheila's Happy Place
I remember when I first found this spot. I was about six. I’d run up here to get away from hearing my parents argue. Then one day they died on their way to pick me up from a birthday party. Everyone felt sorry for me, but I felt guilty because I was always praying that something would make them stop fussing. But not that. No, I never wished for that!
I remember running out of our yard and going as high as I could. That’s when I learned to climb to the mountaintops of the Blue Ridge. I kept going and going until my pain fell away. I saw something new and miraculous up here and it’s been my go-to place ever since. It’s my haven, my home.
I don’t know why I never found a comfortable foster home or why I wasn’t the right fit. It really doesn’t matter now. I’ve always preferred to be alone anyway. Nobody sees what I see or feels what I feel.
That advertising job I had, well, it paid me well. But something was missing. Money and connections didn’t do it for me. The fancy house was more a headache than anything. I wasn’t happy, plain and simple.
One day I decided to take my fucitol pill and leave the life of comfort behind. After all, I wasn’t happy hob-knobbing with superficial people. I just didn’t fit in. That lifestyle tore me up and tore me apart.
I was worth more than the torment that life gave me.
From there I don’t remember how I became homeless. I didn’t care. The people I met sleeping under overpasses and camping in the woods taught me more about life and what’s important than I’d learned while trying to make something of myself.
Myself. Hmmm. That’s what is all comes down to. I’m only me when I’m on the mountaintops. Here I’m free. Here I can breathe. Here I don’t have to please anyone. I don’t have to pretend. I’m the ‘me’ that God intended me to be.
The legend of the woman on the mountaintop
Sheila’s story has been passed down for generations. Countless children, hikers, and tourists have climbed the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Ashville in an attempt to feel her spirit and perhaps get a glimpse of her, for it is said that once you reach the top, you can smell her scent, absorb her love of life, and be transformed.
If you look carefully, you’ll see her flying the wings of eagles and see her image mixed with the mist that so often envelopes the peaks.
Many have tried and failed. The journey has to come from within. No one knows exactly on which mountaintop she found freedom, but legend says once you find it, she will reach out to you if you believe. If you love. If you’re not selfish and if you wish to seek peace within yourself.
If Sheila were to tell it, she’d say her story is not legend. It’s truth.
Open yourself to love and life and you’ll know the freedom Sheila McIntyre found at the top of the mountains.
Absorb the spirit of the woman on the mountaintop. Absorb the pain and the strength of character that encouraged her to climb mountains in order to find salvation. Learn from her selfless giving to others. Understand that you could find yourself high on the hog one day and groveling for sustenance on the next.
How will you handle it?
What kind of legacy will you leave behind when you leave this Earth?
Embrace and share the story of the woman on the mountaintop with every human you encounter. Share the love. Share the spirit and spread the freedom of the soul.
She’s calling to you. Do you hear her? Will you listen? Will you follow her to learn the truth? Thousands have tried but few have succeeded. Let go. Close your eyes. Seek your soul and you just may find her. You just may find yourself.
Refining, Defining or Rhyming
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© 2014 Shauna L Bowling