Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time... The wait is simply too long.
- Leonard Bernstein
I'm climbing up a mountain, and it's early, you know, because I want to beat the other hikers. I want the climb to be my climb. And I'm totally on it. Like I saw that peak in the distance, and I know there's a lake right beneath it--cold like snow and clear like glass. Yeah, I've heard there are leeches, but I don't care. I'll jump out so far I won't touch the rocks. And the splash? It will be phenomenal.
The sun is perfect, warms my skin. And a slight breeze comes at just the right time to skiff the heat off my body when I start to sweat. It's okay. I'm making it up there--probably before noon. No footprints in the dirt, so I'm the first one here. And I've got plenty of water in the bottle sloshing at my back, which means I could probably jog a little.
I'm not even out of breath.
Then the sun hits its zenith. Sweet Mary-Francis on buttered toast! I'm melting! But it's okay. I've got water. And trees for shade. Yep. Plenty of tr--rocks. There are nothing but rocks here! What happened to the trees? And slap! What the hoohah? Did you see the size of that thing? How can a thing that size even fly and not be a bat? I wipe a trail of slime from my face and keep going.
Well, I'm getting tired all right, but it's okay. I'm almost at the lake, and no one's up there. It's just going to be me and all that wa--
--and then I hear the crowd. I mean there is a crowd of people coming down the trail toward me. And they're scampering all over the rocks like they're so many pebbles. Everyone's laughing and their hair is wet. Water droplets glisten on fresh faces. No leeches on them.
So I stop. Okay. A few got up before me. That's all right. I can still do this. But that peak sure looks far away. Really far. Like, have I made any progress? I can't tell if I have. And I'm sick of no trees. Plus my water's gone. I shake my bottle and there's just air. I don't know.
But I started this thing. I'm going to finish. So I keep going. I pass the people passing me. Scrabble up rock and get a few scrapes, but I don't care. I'm getting up to that lake, no matter what. And then I'm jumping in! It's just a little way now. A few more switch backs. I can almost see it! There's the water! There's the wat--
The water's gone. They used it all. And stretching out before me is a long trail. Further up and further in. Ohhhkay. I look back at all that distance I've come. No way I'm turning around now. There's still the peak up above. And it's a better goal than the lake anyway. You can see everything from up there. I'll have to work harder, But I'm pretty sure if I pace myself this time, and calm down, I'll hit those second and third winds, no problem.
Here we go.