Updated: Nov 7, 2020
*Words of wisdom for inspirational thought are at the end of the story!
MOUNTAIN OF CHANGE
There it is! The Mountain of Change. My eyes widen in awe. It’s a whole lot bigger than I originally thought, and the closer I become the steeper it looks. I’ve been talking about climbing this mountain for a long time…but, as they say, “talk is cheap.” I guess it’s time for action. I eye the mountain in apprehension before deciding to rest at the bottom for just a few minutes; after all, I have been walking for hours.
Searching around the base of the mountain, I soon find a shady spot to rest my tired feet and award myself a siesta before I start to climb. I gaze into the distance while my back presses solidly against the tree. My eyes begin to feel heavy and I can barely hold them open.
All of a sudden, I feel a nudge at my pants pocket. Instinctively jerking to brush it away, my fingertips are greeted by a gentle softness. My eyes snap open to see a wild rabbit nudge me once more. Startled, I can only stare in amazement at this rabbit, seemingly calm, that twitches his nose as he stares at me in…curiosity?
“So,” the rabbit says, moving his long ears this way and that, “whatcha doing?”
Shaking my head, my eyes blink rapidly. Rabbits don’t talk! I must be losing my mind.
“Did you hear me?” He nudges me again, this time hopping on my leg. “Whatcha doing? Or would you rather me say ‘what’s up, doc?’”
This is unreal. What kind of strange dimension have I teleported into? Looking intently at the rabbit and realizing he’s not planning on leaving any time soon, I manage to choke out, “Ah…just sitting here.”
“Why are you sitting here…” he chuckles before adding, “Doc?”
“Why do you want to know?” I ask tentatively. This may be an alien rabbit intent on taking over my body for all I know.
“No particular reason,” he stands on his hind legs, “just making conversation.”
I can’t help but laugh…with an added splash of hysterics. The rabbit wants to make conversation. No one is going to believe this story when I get home. “If you must know, I’m contemplating climbing this mountain.”
“It’s going to be kind of hard to climb it when you’re sitting,” the rabbit replies with a nose twitch.
“Yes,” I nod. “It will be impossible.”
The rabbit leaps off my leg. “Well, I need to be going. Good luck to you.” Hopping away, the rabbit stops to call out, “Remember, when there’s a hill to climb, waiting will not make it any smaller.”
“Thank you, ‘Bugs,’” I mutter sarcastically as he hops out of sight.
After rubbing my eyes vigorously, I decide I must be hallucinating…even though I haven’t eaten anything wild or smoked any wacky weed. What gives? Calming slightly after rationalizing that exhaustion is to blame, I quiet myself again…only to feel a sharp bop on my head seconds later. What in the world? My hand reaches up to rub the top of my head, and I notice an acorn lying beside me.
“Sorry!” came the call from above.
Did I just hear “sorry” from somewhere up in the tree? All at once, I’m aware of the tiny clicks of something shimmying down the tree…and here lands a frenetic squirrel less than six inches away from my foot. “Did I hit you? If I did, I’m so sorry!” The squirrel continues his explanation in quick bursts. “I lost my grip and it was either me or the acorn. Are you okay?”
“Uh,” I begin, attempting to focus on this furry bundle of energy vibrating beside me. “It did hit me, but I’m fine.”
“What are you doing?” the squirrel asks, his body jerking here and there in sharp twitching motions.
Here we go again. “I’m thinking about climbing this mountain.”
“Thinking is not climbing,” the squirrel replies spastically.
“I know,” I say, nodding in agreement, “I’m just trying to pick the perfect spot to take the first step.”
“There is no perfect spot. You just have to do it.” The squirrel leaps back on the tree and begins to climb up. “I’ve gotta go, but remember, ‘the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.’”
“Thank you, Confucius,” I reply dryly.
This is one of the strangest days of my life. As I continue to sit, baffled by the odd encounters with the rabbit and the squirrel, a turtle eases by me, glancing over at me as he slowly meanders by. The words fly out of my mouth before my mind spurs to life, “If you’re racing the rabbit, you are a good ten minutes behind.”
The turtle replies, “No race today, but may I ask what you’re doing?”
“I’m trying to decide if I’m going to start climbing this mountain today or tomorrow.”
The turtle nods and then slowly stops to retract into his shell for a brief minute. When his head pokes back out, he says, “The best time to plant an orchard was ten years ago and the second best time is today.”
“Thank you for that nugget of wisdom, oh, slothful one,” I sigh.
As he heads toward the brush, I hear, “Better late than never.”
Leaning my head back against the tree in an attempt to settle myself again, I immediately hear, “Comfortable?”
My eyes dart around, searching for the source of the inquiry. When I don’t see anything, I allow my eyes to close once more.
“Are you comfortable?” I hear again.
Heart pounding, I jump up to closely scrutinize my environment, forcing myself to believe this is all a figment of my imagination. Just as I’m beginning to believe myself, I hear, “I didn’t mean for you to get up. I was just checking to see if you were comfortable.”
My jaw smacks the ground. Where am I, a fantasy land? A fairytale? Some alternate dimension? This tree is talking to me. I can’t hide the shock on my face as the tree bends over enough to barely graze its leaves upon my face. “What are you doing? Resting?”
“I, uh,” I stammer, “am just…well, I’m trying to decide if I really want to climb this mountain.”
“You know,” the tree begins, intentionally patting my shoulder with one of its limbs, “the mighty oak begins as a little acorn. Growth must be chosen again and again and again.” The oak tree straightened back up in all of its might, and, for the first time that day, I do not have a snarly reply to shoot back. All I can do is stare in awe.
While I continue to gawk at the tree, frozen in place, a sparrow flies from one of its branches to land on my shoulder. Startled, but not overwhelmed given the recent series of events, I turn to the bird. “What are you waiting for?” the bird asks.
“I’m not sure,” I answer softly. Taking in the massive sight of the mountain, I say, “That is a big mountain and it will be a long, hard climb to the top.
The sparrow chirps, “Yes, but at the top of the hardest climbs comes the best views.” She leaves my shoulder to fly up, up, up…and out of sight.
Jerking, I swipe away the little tickle on my neck and crack my tired eyes open. A little caterpillar is attempting to explore my skin. As I deftly remove it from my neck and set it on the ground, the caterpillar inches towards a smaller tree. Waiting in heightened anticipation, I wonder if it’s going to turn and offer me a piece of advice.
When it continues on its way, I laugh out loud, realizing I’d fallen asleep. What crazy dreams…and so lifelike, but now it’s time to come back to reality. My eyes size up the Mountain of Change before me. The climb still awaits. I’ve been working toward this climb for some time …and now that I’m finally here, what am I doing? Procrastinating. Those dreams, my subconscious, showing up as a rabbit, a squirrel, a turtle, a tree, and a sparrow were all sending me the same message. A dream only becomes reality when you wake up, put on your work clothes, and jump into action.
Finally standing, I draw in a deep breath. I am now awake and committed to the climb because…
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WE ARE WHAT WE DO, NOT WHAT WE PLAN
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