There is little as exciting as the desire to climb higher – to stand on the topmost edge of a cliff and peer across the ocean into the endless promises hidden in the skies. Yes. It is an exhilarating thought. But it remains a thought. It lingers as a desire.
And yet, it is this desire that continually prompts us to want more from life – to keep searching and to keep trying until we really do find what we think we’ve always wanted.
For some reason, however, it never really dawns on us that once we reach that topmost point, peer across the ultimate view of the world and get a glimpse of what we are able to obtain and achieve, the anticipation and the mystery dissolves into the sudden realization that this is all there is. There is no higher edge than the one we’ve just reached. There is no vaster ambition and our new sententious being will never again exalt itself, now that it has reached its full potential.
It is Andy Warhol who said that fantasy love is much better than reality love. Never doing it is very exciting. The most exciting attractions are the ones between two opposites who never meet.
How do you resolve such paradox? Do you choose to avoid the highest peak in order to rest easy with the knowledge that there is a higher peak, or do you proclaim to explore it? Do you end your story with the penultimate paragraph, or do you keep climbing?
To keep climbing would probably require tedious amounts of effort. You’d have to fight the pain from your broken bones; fight the fellow hikers who broke them. You’d probably even have to leave some hikers behind. And you’d undoubtedly have to fend for yourself because no-one in his right mind is going to carry you up a mountain. You have to do it yourself. It really just sounds like a personal war.
Then again, if you settle for what you are familiar with and set up camp just below the summit, perhaps you’ll never know what you missed. You can’t miss the unknown, the obscure and the unfamiliar if you’ve never seen it.
Alternately, maybe you should revisit your intention for climbing the mountain in the first place. Are you climbing it because you feel obliged to, or are you climbing it because you want to see for yourself what the world looks like from up high? Do you climb to the top to see the panoramic view of the place where you rush every day to fulfill your responsibilities, or do you stay on the ground because really you don’t have the guts to sit at the edge of a mountain and muse over the possibilities and the promises and the mysteries?