Monday, September 3, 2012

Humility's Antonym

To gaze at the top of any mount--though especially Ajax in Telluride, Colorado--is to see the Greek gods of myths and legends, and to be at the top is to reside with those celestial beings, hubris in all of their dignity. This sierra entices you, using its full narcissistic persuasion. My eyes meander along the mount’s ragged crevices that appear deep enough to plunge into Hades, their roughness powerful, too beautiful--it should be considered a sin to look upon them. My heart aches for adventure and struggle, and my mind has only one wish: to conquer those woozy heights and claim the divine skies as my own.
The Trojan horse is in place: preparation is tightly and neatly rolled in my knapsack, feebly prepared for any surprise attacks. My limbs are agile and my mind ecstatic. My family’s ancient Land Cruiser bumps and jostles us to the trailhead, slowly but determined, impetuously undying. It moans to a standstill and rests its ancient, dilapidated wheels on the broken rocks, wheezing one last rusty sigh.
The climb begins: slowly, steadily. It teases you into thinking you can conquer this feat, that you are worthy of sitting and beholding the contents of Pandora’s box: observing hope buried beneath the surface of the ailments that plague the human race from a godly throne. Oh, no. No one is truly worthy. Did you not know? The mountains tease. You are merely mortal. Weak; frail. Your legs will buckle, your lungs will explode, and your heartbeat will falter.  Such audacity is overpowering in one so young. They scoff. Audacity smells like courage, but it tastes like the adrenaline and sweat from horror, and sounds like screams chilling enough to tear a soul to ribbons. It is a mask of valor; it is the heart of a mouse instead of a beast. The trees tantalizingly whisper this memorandum; the rocks echo it with a thunderous rumble.

If these utterances were honest, if they made my soul respond with anxiety and submission, I would have buckled. Not only buckled, but crumbled, fractured, splintered, been vanquished, and begged for mercy with no hesitation or regret. Nothing is going ruin me: no hateful deities, no vengeful ghosts, and no wickedly rapturous souls will haunt me. I plow mercilessly on. 
The sierras relentlessly taunt my spirit, hissing ominously that I will fail. They slowly lose their suffocating grasp on me as my mind moves into the light. Darkness disappears with light. Darkness is vanquished by light, and all that remains of it is a craven, quivering heartbeat. Evil is weakness; it is fear of the unknown covered with the knee-buckling miasma of hatred. To overcome these trials is to be released in the knowledge that freedom is more powerful than liberty. Nothing--earthly or otherwise--can shatter me now.
The zenith: the hardest, most thrilling point in an adventure. Straining muscles, sweat in teardrops spilling down my back, behind my knees. No full breaths could dream of infiltrating my lungs, only gulps and gasps. My feet are burdensome, merely inches above the ground with every step. I can feel my heart hammering, yearning to break my ribcage. I keep climbing, hoping for release, and praying that it will be worth it. I pray that I will survive. I pray for strength. I pray for wings.
This first glance at the spread of peaks and valleys is too staggering to put into human words. The only ones that could justify it are the gods, with rainbows of undisclosed colors, songs of dizzy melodies. A photograph could never give justice to the awe-inspiring majesty of this heavenly kingdom. If my now blithe heart wished, I could reach up and touch the clouds and burn my hand on the rays of the sun with the realms of immortality being in such close dominions of mortality.
This freedom, this unfathomable euphoria resulting from power is beauty, and this beauty is reflected in the mountains. Both are indefinably astounding. The Grecian gods and goddesses selected the most stunning place for their home, Mount Olympus. The word jealousy should never be able to perfectly describe the feeling mere mortals experience upon gazing at the deities’ divine dwelling. This sensation, this feeling, sways those who dwell in the earthly world’s minds into relentless craving. It inspires, but it kills and harasses. It drives men to their summits, but it breaks them to crumbles to plummet to their valleys. They have tried and lost, but you: what will you do to reach the summit?