Everyone has a hill that they just can’t climb. Some outdoors, some deep inside.
I’ve been in the Kern River Valley for a little while, steep mountains lining the river, and of course the long climb outside my front door. Every time I swing a let over and say, “Today’s the day!” I have to turn around long before getting to the top.
Unconquered hills are like that. You throw yourself at them over and over but never get to the top. You can make progress, get higher up, get closer to being up and over, but at the end of the day you’re right back where you started.
As with all the other unconquered hills in my life, there’s an easy way up this one. It’s called CA 155. It’s paved and it mostly parallels Old State Road, the dirt road that is my nemesis. I could simply drop down a mile or so, cut over, and take the asphalt all the way to the top. It’s only seven miles.
But life is not that easy when you’ve promised yourself to try and do it right. When the path is overgrown with thorns, or riddled with rocks, or charged high with snow, and that’s the path you know you have to take, well, it’s of no consequence that you could take a different, shorter, milder one.
Nor does it help to change hills. “I never wanted to conquer that old hill anyway,” won’t make you feel any better, and I know this because I’ve tried it, switching routes to take me over and around the lake through a 30mph headwind. Even that satisfaction, complemented by a coffee stop in the woods by a creek can’t make you feel better about the hill unconquered.
The hill is there, waiting for you, indifferent, which is the opposite of love.
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