Chapter Three

I spent so much time digging tunnels that I had forgotten what became of all the excavation. Bobcats and trenchers, bulldozers and backhoes littered the unforgiving landscape. Arguer bits lay chewed up, dull and abandoned. Water tankards endlessly pumped to keep the machinery from breaking down.

I had become obsessed, completely saturated in a sick darkness to dig. When I finally turned away from the tunnels I stood back in shock at the mound that had built up around the excavated area. So much rock and dirt. The pile stood proud up and over me. It crested high into the stratosphere. In a desperate need for clarity I decided to climb and look down upon my progressive stagnation.

I collected my gear, loading down seventy pounds upon my back and set my sights on a six month lonely adventure to the top. I crossed the barren landscape zigzagging my way across fields of gray and dismal, dreary afternoons. The lifeless trees slowly began to color themselves in pastel hues of green yellow as I made my way further up the mountain. The misty rain skewed my vision, droplets of water turned to puddles in my boots. The wet sloshing with each step intensified my desire to retreat, to lay down in the muck and drown in a pool of mud. In each lagging step momentum crept up on me. It wasn’t me. It was a vision of a face. It helped me get up and continue my journey.

Conditioning propelled the venture. Break it all down, scatter the elements and stack them back into perfectly oriented segments. Okay, now dissect. Think to keep directed. There was a man who self destructed, turned inward and perpetually rebounded into sickness. That same man, defeated, crawled away from himself and turned to walk. The journey, taken alone on foot was in reality accompanied by pending love. The man revels. He finds that it was never himself, nor the love that brought him peace. It was both; it was more. It was him, then her, then them.

My path led to a mountain. I thought it was the mountain from my tunnels, but once I made the ascent, I understood that I was wrong. Even when I climbed the far reaches into the icy glacier top of Glech, all I saw below me was a vast, vacant land filled with beauty that I would never know. It took another month to walk back into her arms, and when I did, I finally found happiness. True, unyielding happiness.

It wasn’t until I opened up to her did the colors truly bloom. A mind in the doldrums only sees life in gray. When I let go the world unveiled itself. The crimson curtain raised over my stiff eyelids, so quickly that the lace furled, danced staggeringly over my dazed struggle and vanished into the vacant day. Oranges squeezed out over the sky, splattering the sunset in pulpy palpating pigments. Ripened raspberries released red bursts, exploding over the peaks, slowly fading into the valley.

We made a pact to climb the mountain together. So much fear had built up along the years of creation that I never thought of striving for something beautiful out of misery. It took one month to reach the base of the mountain.

A splash of salt slid down the back of my knee and dropped into the heel of my boot. A trickling, tormenting nervous fever filled my aura. Racing to the top my feet clicked in exaggerated explosions. Questions shuffled through my peripherals, frantic answers charged unknown territory. I was deeply dredged in the chaos of delegated dignity. Hoping beyond perspective to delight an enamored love, to reject an illustrious illusion, I lurched hand in hand upward into the thick pines.

Together we crested the threshold and stopped just before the edge of the mountain. The peak was blowing scattered snow sifting cold up into our noses. The radiant sun scorched vibrant rays of light down into the valley below. The land was laced in leafy life. The thin saplings twisted into each other, creating a natural barricade from us and the point. We parted the vines, keeping our eyes fixated on the Ponderosas. So prominent they were, perfectly placed between the boundaries.

A small sliver of land lay at the top at the peak. Everything else faded back down the decent of the mountain. It was beautiful. She smiled. She giggled. Arms wrapped tight we fell into freedom. A deep, resonating silence engulfed us. Standing in awe I was enraptured by a multitude of realizations. Glimpses passed through my eyelids, noticed, ignored then gone all together from memory. A sweet breath of fresh air. I felt it in my veins. Like icicles freezing, thawing and dripping down onto a porch from above a gutter; I was created, left to dwell, to mediate, and then slip, falling so hard that I became a droplet once more. Created, accumulated, acclimated, preserved, evaporated only to return to my self. A new self. A self reinvented. A self worthy of love.

Irony. I once dug tunnels to find recluse from the world above. To mask myself in a silence that would leave me alone and free from anticipated direction. From my tunnels I created a mountainous paradise that wasn’t fictitious. It is here. It is now. So many years digging below the surface that perhaps I plunged through the core and spit back out on top of my rumble to look down at the splattered landscape in love.

But in love, so foreign a reality. Always, always a perpetual thought, or concept, never a mastered identity. Time had slipped from my grip for I had so fortunately been awarded the most breathtaking of human condition. Somewhere in the fleeting darkness there was a hand reaching up toward me. It beckoned me. It asked for nothing more than truth. Somehow in all the preceded calculations I divided a fraction against will. The fraction didn’t divide continually back into itself. No, no it multiplied. It staggered headlong and created an outcome so unimaginable to me. A quarter, a half, no a third, then two, then one. Then one. Then three. Then one. One and two then three. Three meant one. Together.

We climbed together. We laughed together. We ate together. We made love together. As one, as three. My mountain. No, I stand corrected, our mountain.

Chapter Four