US

The ascent

US
By Awais Arshid
Fri, 05, 20

The scent of pine cones was in the air. You could see the slight swaying of the needle-like leaves of pines in the breeze...

MEMOIRS

The car purred along the thin road, surrounded by millions of conifer trees as it snaked its way through the massive jungle on this huge mountain. I had been driving for about two hours now, continuously gaining altitude. We were really high up. The sky was overcast, and the sun was peeking again and again through the clouds, as if playing hide and seek with the ground.

The scent of pine cones was in the air. You could see the slight swaying of the needle-like leaves of pines in the breeze. On one side of the road, through the trees, a valley so deep you couldn’t see the bottom and the other side were huge cliffs that ran skyward towards the summits of these huge mountains. Looking all daunting and proud, they were very intimidating, making you feel insignificant. It was soothing to look at. A small road, surrounded by trees, a squirrel here and there, foxes peeping through their small dens and exotic birds you would never see in the city. Puddles of water, left over by the melting snow, the clouds hugging the mountains, the cool air brushing through the car window. The perfect road trip.

We continued along. The road twisted its way up; the landscape seemed to change with every turn. A new panorama, a new scenery. The drive through the mountains is always better than the destination itself. You get to see something new and exotic every time. Undisturbed and untouched. Trees with branches reaching out far and wide, almost as if they longed to touch each other. We arrived at sort of a small niche tucked away into the side of this huge hill from where a path led up into the trees.

We parked the car here, and walked along the dirt path. It was cold up here, but somehow that didn’t bother us. I continued to lead the way up. We maintained a steady tempo, and kept climbing. After a lot of strenuous hiking, we arrived near that special spot.

I covered your eyes and led you straight to the spot. After driving for hours and walking and hiking for almost an hour, we had finally reached. It was place I had discovered a long time ago and now I wanted to share it with you.

I removed my hands from your eyes. Your eyes opened wide as you stared off in the distance. You were standing in a clearing almost at the top of the huge mountain we had been ascending for the past few hours. The highest point for hundreds of miles. A boundless ocean of green stretched out; peaks of massive mountains that remain covered with snow all year long could be seen far away. Clouds were close, it felt you could stretch your hand and touch them. The wind swept through the mist, revealing more valleys and hills that seemed to roll on forever. Your eyes took in all that this infinite landscape had to offer. You raised your arms in victory and it seemed like you were trying to absorb the whole scenery laid out in front of you. The clouds twirled and danced around you as in greeting. The wind was running through your hair and it flapped around. With arms raised and teeth chattering with cold, you exclaimed, “I’m on top of the world.”

At this moment, standing more than 10,000 feet above sea level, I marveled at the Creator; He put this never-ending canvas in place and yet something as small as you in front of the humongous earth was more beautiful than anything. There was only one road to reach the top and I wouldn’t share it with anyone, but you.

To be continued…