How to Climb a Mountain

How to Climb a Mountain:
Walk with me a moment.

Winter. Pre-dawn. Climbing a mountain, looming grey silhouette on pinpricked black.

A bootpack. Left foot. Right foot. Check breath. Check technique. Check posture. Repeat.

Each step, a choice. Each breath, a lesson.

The dog, a silhouette, panting, white steam on black, eyes shining. The roommate, a silhouette, white steam on black, eyes shining. You, a silhouette, Milky Way splashed above.

Left. Right. Breath. Posture. Technique. Repeat. Follow staggered craters, black holes in white, a staircase in the snow.

10,000 feet above sea level, 5:30 am on a clear day, walk towards the stars, below in the valley a town, quiet lights, shimmer. Breath.

Left, right, breath, posture, technique, repeat.

Footsteps, each five inches higher, towards a peak to watch the sunrise.

Then, when pink-orange fades cold, shiver, a snowboard, strap in, look over cornice, pick any number of lines.

Dropping, dropping from the top of the mountain, falling, falling from the stars, surfing white noise, surfing white noise.

Later, on the phone with family, or and old friend, they say, “It’s a mountain.”

“I know,” you reply.