My bare feet brush through the coarse grass, clicking up clouds of red dust. The mountain is just ahead of me now, protruding into the sky, its rock folded and adorned with creases and weather scars. The sky is a delicate blue with the sun smearing the land with light morning light. The morning is fresh and cold, spears of frost cling onto the vegetation and webs of ice sneak along the short grasses. My feet no longer feel the cold after weeks of walking in conditions much worse than this.
Every step I take towards the mountains seems to push it away from me, like an invisible force dragging the huge rock formation in the opposite direction, teasing me. My eyelids flicker and my feet stumble and trip over rocks in the soil. The slope is getting steeper, but I’m so close now, little more than a mile or two to go. The valley bellow is filled with a cool blue lake; smooth and un moving. Birds hop around the rocks, enjoying the morning sunlight and the prospect of fish from the lake. I can feel myself longing to drop down to the brilliant lake, but I know this is not my mission.
The slopes become steeper and I feel the altitude increase. My lungs crave more oxygen and my breathing becomes shallower. My ankles wobble precariously on the uneven ground, exhaustion is closing in on me. I don’t want to go any further. I take one last step, willing my self onward before tripping over a spiked rock. I tumble to the ground, limbs flailing in search of something to break the fall. I land with a thump, just missing the rock. The fall wasn’t bad and the ground is pleasant where the sun has warmed it.
I roll onto my back and let the sun swallow me whilst I sink into the warm earth.