Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: EERIE (07/28/16)
- TITLE: What goes up always comes down
By Hugh Houchin
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Oddly, compared to his norm, he ricocheted out of bed his body reverberating, “I like this, I like this, it feels different and I like it.”
After a really refreshing shower he ate breakfast and dared himself. “I’m only going to take 2 I-bu-ps instead of my usual 4.” As the two little brown pills of temporary relief slid down his throat in a flow of orange juice, his body replied with a silent refrain “you’ll regret taking only two.”
Nevertheless, on an uncanny whim, Rick decided to take advantage of
“feeling like it” and visited his former love of walking.
He’d walked only a block and, in a mysterious way, a line from the “Doors” old song “Light My Fire” popped into his mind. Over and over “come on light my fire” coursed through his veins.
As the internal flames flared, Rick succumbed to the hidden pyromaniac within. He walked the block back to his car and drove thirty miles to the National Monument in Western Nebraska. This tribute to the hardy pioneers of the California gold rush rises over 800 feet into the sky, and carved into one side is a crude 1.6 mile curling path to the top.
Until 4 or 5 years ago, Rick tried to walk that 3.2 mile round trip 3 times a week. Walking as fast as he could he’d race himself up and then down the path, without stopping.
In his mid 60’s, even with arthritis and a fused knee, on good days he’d make the trip in about 58 minutes.
The walk both challenged and exhilarated him. As he watched for the occasional rattlesnake sunning on the path, the ancient beauty of the Monument allowed him to further grasp the supreme majesty of God.
As he walked the path on that magical day, with no thoughts of speed, Rick’s mind wandered. Being alone with his thoughts made the walk kinda supernatural. It reminded him of lulls during a storm, before the wind and rain returned.
Rick thought about when he played sports as a youngster and in junior and senior high school. Sports were part of his life. From baseball cards to visions of his hero, Mickey Mantle, Rick played Little League baseball; sixty-some years later he’s still a Yankee fan.
Football, he lived through the years of Cornhusker mediocrity until the Devaney-Osborne coaching eras and Big Red among the best, but now into semi-mediocrity.
While one step replaced the other on his skyward trek into the infinite blueness of heavenly skies, the weirdness of cycles filtered through Rick’s mind. His personal cycle includes a high school Honorable Mention All Conference award in football; now he listens and watches sports only through technology.
Sitting is Rick’s position, and he’s a first-teamer. That’s spooky.
He thought about age-related cycles. His long hair in the sixties to what now doesn’t cover the top of his head, and his lack of energy and arthritis.
He recalled the wondrous cycle of being a full-time father, but divorce made that a part-time venture.
Three of Rick’s 5 children live close while the other 2 don’t; he has twelve grandchildren. He has a loving relationship with them, but they’re all busy. It’s ghostly with appearances here and there, no real structure.
He reached the Monument’s summit and walked to the viewing area; from 800 feet of altitude he looked into the distance. Rick saw a water tower rising above the town where he lived and where he’d probably die. The inexplicable spectrum of cycles again strolled through his mind.
Life comes and goes in uncanny ways.
Time came to walk down the Monument. As he walked, Rick once again began to feel the exhilaration of life. Everything fell into perspective. Okay, so he’s losing his hair, memory, and ambition; okay, so his youth is gone.
But, in return, Rick’s place is now at the gate of the wall surrounding his community; his local church. He counsels and teaches with his balding head representing his crown of experience. “Wisdom is with aged men. With long life is understanding.” Job 12:12
(Based on fact)
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