Vertical March

The jeepney stops. Around twenty people disembark from the vehicle, some shielding their eyes from the light of the blazing sun. Excitement is marked on everyones faces. From this point on, the journey shall be carried out on foot. Bringing with them their packed snacks, they move forward. Their destination? The top of the mountain.

The road has not known asphalt. Rocks of every shape and texture litter the ground they walk upon. Up here, the cold wind marries the scorching sun.  Onwards they walk, admiring the scenery that lay before them. Who wouldn’t want to stop and marvel at one’s surroundings? But there was more at the top, and they were still far from reaching it.

By the second kilometer or so, their group has scattered considerably over the mountain trail. Those who lead await those who trail, while some opt to continue ahead on their own. Their journey to the top could be considered a race. None of them had a specific idea of what they’ll find when they reached the end, but here they were, trying to push themselves to the limit.

One or two kilometers from the finish line, and they are surprised to see another batch from behind moving closer towards them. Some from that group have already begun to overtake them. Energized by the spirit of competition, some of them gain newfound speed. Others run, while there are those who choose to walk in a regular pace, evenly distributing their energy so as not to lose breath. A few meters more and one could overtake the leader.

By the last hurdle however, many are disheartened to find the road rising to about forty-five degrees. It was nearly impossible to run in this situation. It was almost as if you were being pulled back with every step you make. After a few minutes of walking slowly, some had to stop and rest.

Not wanting those below to overtake them, they decide to continue. Having marched more than half the trail, turning back would be unthinkable. The sight of a nearby tower raises their spirits, but after a closer inspection, they find that this wasn’t their intended target. So, on they walk.

Almost at the brink of exhaustion, their attention is caught by nearby shouting. They must be near the top. With every effort, they march proudly to the end of their journey, taking in the victory they have achieved. They have made it.

 

We have made it.

-Ed. E.

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