Climbing the Hill

I’m on the way to a party with L. & G., and J., and perhaps others. We’re following a narrow, but paved, path through thick woods. Someone has put clusters of large glow-in-the-dark stars on the ground along the path, and I feel my belly tighten in anticipation, followed by a wave of gratitude toward this path’s decorator.

J. & I pull ahead of the others and are walking together. I’m carrying a spiral notebook and an O’Reilly book (Webmaster in a Nutshell?) in my left hand.

The path starts to be sandy, and the impenetrable forest on either side is maybe just shrubs now – it’s not impinging on my mind like before. We’re starting to go uphill now, steeper and steeper. I’m reminded a bit of Chimney Bluffs by Lake Ontario — the sand is really piled up now, and our ascent is sharp. It’s feeling close to 45 degrees when we hear a car coming from behind us, and move to the side of the path to watch it drive up. J. is making fun of the car because it’s in some way a dumb variation on another model, but I’m impressed that it can drive up this slope – “I dunno, man, that thing’s got some moxy!”

J., always smaller and nimbler than me, is scrambling ahead; now he crests a false peak and is out of my sight. The others have been out of sight and hearing for a long time.

Crabwalking, face away from the slope but not at all aware of any view beyond my immediate surroundings, I slip a bit on loose sand but stop myself quickly — face the slope again and keep on crawling up.

It’s still steeper, I feel like we’re approaching seventy degrees here — I’m amazed that I can still climb this: normally sand this steep is impossible. But it is getting harder and harder, especially with the book and notebook still clutched in my hand, slipping around, hard to hold on to — and once again I envy J. his lightness.

Another false peak, or maybe the real one, and there’s just a few feet to it, but now my hand sets loose a wave of sand, gallons and gallons tumble down, a mini-avalanche and I’m worried about the people below — this is hard enough for me without my weight in sand bashing me from above, filling my mouth and eyes…

And now I’m slipping too, following the sandslide — I can’t get a grip with fingers, toes, knees or elbows and I’m on the verge of losing the books — sliding ever faster, amazed I’m not tumbling headlong, but I’ve slid down steep sand before and I sense that if I can keep calm and keep my heels from catching I won’t lose control entirely. Unrealistically, it occurs to me that if I could face outwards from the slope again I would be able to control myself better, but I’d have to let go of the books to pull that off and now it’s moot — something has caught and I feel the sickening lurch of my chest being pulled out into the air by my momentum, the beginning of a completely uncontrolled tumble, shit, this is how people —

And I’m awake.

27 Responses to “Climbing the Hill”

  1. e. Says:

    Whoa. Freaky. That’s a very good one–some really key details, like going to a party with Webmaster in a Nutshell? That’s something important.

    But Word–Chimney Bluffs! I c’ recognize! That junk is TITE, yeah?

  2. Desultor Says:

    I woke up with an unusually clear memory of this one, and thought, damn, I should write this down. Then I caught myself wondering if there was meaning to some element or other, and was like, damn! gotta write this shit down fast before I think about it too much.

    I wish I hadn’t written “but not at all aware of any view beyond my immediate surroundings”, though. That’s an awake thought, analysis impinging on the raw experiential memory.

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