What a beautiful day.
Blue skies, bright sunshine, and a cool breeze stirring the warm air.
The hill in front of me is my destination for this rare day out. It looks like a nice one to climb, and it's not too steep. The way up to the top curves gently away from me; I can't see everything that's ahead, but I've a pretty good idea where it'll end up.
And I bet the view from the top is a cracker.
I stroll for a while on the easy incline, enjoying the feel of the sun. Flowers salute me on either side at waist height, bumblebees meandering happily among them. Their content buzzing draws my attention, and I crouch to watch them as they go about their bumbly business, pockets stuffed with gold. Within seconds, I'm engrossed.
I've always been fond of bumblebees; they bring back memories of my maternal grandmother, who would hold her hand flat for them to land on when I was a toddler. She taught me that they were gentle giants, and though she's long since passed, I've always treated them with awe and respect.
I resume my stroll as the slope increases, my mind wandering. A bird circles easily above a nearby rocky outcrop, perhaps riding a thermal current. I wonder what it would be like to fly as a bird rather than walk as a man. Would life be the freedom of the endless sky, or would flying be like swimming in deep water? Predators could lurk in any direction, in all directions.
I lose my footing momentarily, but quickly regain my balance.
The way is much steeper as the hill narrows, but I'm most of the way up now, and my heart tells me that I'm alive. It's a good feeling; I really should do this more often.
As the hilltop approaches, the curve reveals a gnarled tree that stretches across the path from my right. It looks wind-blown and somehow out of place on such a lovely day, but there it stands. I step through the flowers carefully and reach out to touch the bark of its inclined trunk. It's deeply grooved but smoothe, and I trace the channels upwards into its bare branches with my fingertips. A solitary bloom lies out of reach above me on the far side of the path, as if it's trying to escape the tranquility of the hill.
The mystery holds me for a few minutes, but I eventually move past and steel myself for the last stretch. The incline is harsh now, and I have to work harder, sweat finding my joints, to reach the small summit. As I crest the rise, a little short of breath, I'm met by a mercifully cooling wind.
It's flat up here, and after a few seconds catching by breath, I move closer to the opposite edge and gaze down upon the dwindling length of the path. It's obviously longer and steeper than it looked from the ground, and looks broken and uneven; no wonder I lost my footing.
I wonder idly if I'd have started the journey had I known that the going would be tougher than expected?
I dismiss the thought as irrelevant; I made my mind up to climb the hill and followed through. I even made time to enjoy some cool stuff along the way.
And I'm not disappointed now I'm here; the view really is spectacular.
I smile and realise that I'm brighter than I used to be.
This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2011
The fab photo was taken by blogging buddy Murr Brewster