Inches at a time I creep higher.
The taupe rock face presses against my body as I cling to the edge. My fingers are caked in chalk, my toes sore from shallow footholds. There are few places to grip. Even fewer to find rest. And as the sun beats down on me, the sweat glistening on my back I can feel my heart beating faster.
I’m nearly there. Closer to the peak than I have ever been and my rope has just run out. I’m forced to pause here, to slow my momentum and make a decision. A rope is a safety line; a friend who reaches out when you fall. It is my protector. But I must go forward. I must see the top. I must keep going.
Dust rolls over the stone wall and brushes me in the face, sticking to it. I can taste the earthiness mingled with my own salt. The harness feels heavy against my hips. It anchors me to the surface, pulls me down, connects me to the earth in a way my shoes on the city streets do not. And my heart is beating. My decision is coming on faster. My fingers are working quickly while my mind focuses on this weight, my anchor. The rope is looped; responsible now for holding this mountain in place.
And I move forward. Heart resounding in my ears, pulsing in my fingertips. If I could only fly.