The little boy looked up and saw a mountain before him. It looked daunting but exciting. It loomed over his head but still invited him forward. The beckoning finger of potential adventure pulled the boy onto the mountain.
The foothills were full of soft, green grass and tall trees covered in branches. The little boy danced through the grass, carelessly throwing his hands about. He did somersaults and cartwheels, letting the grass cushion his falls. He climbed up into a tree like a monkey and jumped from branch to branch.
As he laughed and shouted in excitement, there was a sudden CRACK as a branch broke beneath his weight. The little boy fell straight down, terrified of his inevitable demise. However, he landed in the soft grass, unharmed. He picked himself up, brushed himself off, and continued onward.
He climbed up into a large rock. It had a funny looking bush on it. He laughed at it before climbing up onto another rock. It was solid and sturdy. It made him feel comfortable. He jumped over to another rock, and then climbed up on top of another one. He continued to climb, higher and higher, becoming more and more sure of himself.
One rock wasn't so sure, though. It rolled to one side as the little boy landed on it, and he rolled to the other side. He tumbled down, rock after rock, getting banged up and bruised. He landed in the funny bush, back where he started. It caught him and cushioned his catastrophe, but he still hurt all over. He didn't understand how that could have happened. He had to start over from the beginning. He started climbing again, rock by rock.
This time, as he leaped and lunged, his bumps and bruises ached. They reminded him that not every rock is stable. He moved more cautiously, testing his footing and getting his grips. Finally, he clamored up onto a ledge and gazed upward.
It was a sheer cliff, stretching straight up into the sky. Falling from that wouldn’t leave him laying in soft grass. There wouldn’t be other rocks for him to bounce off of, or a funny bush for him to land in. He would just drop right down, with nothing to break his fall but the bottom and the end. There were vines hanging down, seemingly attached to the clouds. They were his only hope. He grabbed onto one of them tightly, pulled it as taut as he could, and started climbing.
Hand over hand, foot over foot, vine to vine, the boy slowly made his way up the cliff. The vines stretched and strained under his efforts. Rocks cracked as he kicked off of them. His arms ached, his head pounded, his heart raced, he wasn’t sure if he could do it. He started doubting himself. His hand slipped. He fell.
His palms got hot and scratched as the vines slid through them. He didn’t plummet like he thought he would, but he fell enough to knock some sense into him. He regained his grip on a vine, braced his feet against the side of the cliff, and refused to fall. He knew he could do it. He had to do it. He had come too far to turn back. He had too much at stake to fail. He climbed on.
Further still he pulled and pushed his way up the cliff. He didn’t look down. He didn’t even look to one side or the other. He kept his eyes forward, even when he didn’t know what he was looking at. Luckily, before long, he did. He knew that he was looking at the top of the mountain. He was looking at the peak. He knew he wanted to get there. He needed to. He climbed the vines faster and faster, knowing that the end was in sight.
Upon reaching the top of the cliff, the boy reached up, trying to find something to grab. He felt around, searching for anything to pull himself up. His fingers fumbled over a sturdy tree root. He grabbed it and pulled with all of his might. He kicked and squirmed, inching up, little by little.
After what felt like a lifetime, he was finally able to roll up onto the ledge. His arms were sore, he could barely feel his legs, his mind was racing back and forth, trying to make sense of things. Then, he realized that he had made it. He had made it to the top. He rolled up to his feet and looked around at what he had accomplished.
There was no more mountain to climb, but to his dismay, the young man realized that his journey was far from over. As he gazed out into the distance, he saw a horizon filled with other mountains. Some were huge, some were small, some were rocky, and some were covered with grass. Each looked different. Each looked daunting. Each looked exciting. He knew he still had much more climbing to do.
As he decided which mountain he would climb next, he noticed a tree. It was a tall, beautiful, majestic tree. It was perched right at the top of his mountain. It cast cool shade over him. He admired it. Its roots reached out in every direction, stretching all the way to the edge. Its vines draped down over the side of the cliff. Its seeds blew away in the wind, helping to grow funny bushes, fun trees, and soft grass down below.
It was this tree that gave the mountain life. It was this tree that had helped the young man climb and reach the top. He would surely go off and climb other mountains, but not without knowing that this mountain taught him how to climb, and that tree supported him every step along the way.