-Go on! A minute of rest is a minute lost in the Garden of Eden. Legs, listen to me. You will stop cramping and raise my body of burden another step. One more. That’s it.
I know. The air is drier, lesser than I thought. I have not given you sufficient energy to climb another cliff. If I could I would have banished my thought process and saved you some energy. It has done me no good, only fueled me with doubts. I remember praising the hour when the sun set. ‘To be rid of the burning sun,’ I said, ‘is all I can ask for.’ The heat cost us my water and I was already conserving my supplies.
Three hours ago my spirit differed. The last rays of sunshine guided me and the peak was still reachable. A cliff, one more and another. My soul dried up. If I had known then what I know now I wouldn’t have reached for that plateau or believed in that promising highland.
-Come on, arms. Lift me. Lift the rest of me over this barrier of false promises. I will rub your numbness away if it is the last I do. Numbness on another plateau of darkness is better than succumbing here. Yes. Now! Good. Good job, arms. Calm down. Regulate your breathing, Aaron. It hurts, I know, but let’s first get perspective. Roll over. Another cliff!
-Why do you test me, Lord? – Hiding my obstacles in the light only to burden me with them in darkness. You are my shepherd. ‘As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.’ Are you? Then shepherd me! Show me your valley of blinding prosperity. Be a lantern of hope. Lift my body. Raise me.
He has deserted me. On such a place. The loving father of mankind? No. It is a test. I must go higher and prove myself worthy. A life lessens after every hurdle, yet there are no end of hurdles. Every man’s Eden hides behind a mountain. This mountain.
-Body, I’m talking to you now, knowing it might be the last time. You are left with your own persistence when higher powers fail to lift you. I will have my moment in the sun. I must.
Good. Now onward and up. Up upon the barricade in shadows and meet your expectations. I cannot fear a mountain. It differs from gravel only in size and I must meet my final challenge. I will not surrender. The mountain dominates the land and mankind is but gravel to history. Nonetheless you will know, mighty foe. Seasons of smoothing winds will pass and you will know. I defeated you. Without help. As each breath grows thinner.
Lives are leaves falling from the tree of adulthood. I refuse to wither here. My head will touch the grass in the Garden of Eden before I reach eternity.
– Where I will be a king. A king! If you refuse to speak, then listen! I will be your king. ‘I have installed my king upon Zion, my holy mountain.’ I am here! Anoint me. I am your king and this mountain is my castle. I will sit down on my throne and close my eyes. When I open them I expect a sunrise and a kingdom from you. Hear me!? I am in the valley of the shadow of death. Are you with me?
Silence. Surrender to a mountain of silence. And shadows.