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It's a long way down to nothing at all.

Thick, heavy darkness would not deter her this day. The fog was lifting. A group forms for the anticipated expedition but they don't even know.

The mountain is fierce and beautiful. Bear caves and lizard crevices. Someone had the foresight to create a foothold or two, albeit sparingly, along this side of the rock, as if they knew she would require encouragement along the way. But the vertical path is narrow and daunting all the same and serves only to shake confidence because it is incomplete and unnatural. In spite of man's efforts, she has only one source.

Time was, her fears kept her from following much further up but the promise of the sunrise on the other side will not elude her this time. A nervous silence articulates her intentions to Get out there and Stay out there. Frolicking children rest, sensing an event on the horizon. Are you okay up there, we say. She pushes away all offers of assistance from even the most seasoned climbers. She just won't be led.

Her hands grasp for safety. Her feet hold their own. She stops briefly to rest her cheek against the cool rock.

One Petit step after Petit step. Facing her fear, she leaves behind a petty generational curse as deeply rooted as this mountain. Broken chains on a shady path.

Decade old me, tense and wild eyed, blinks back tears as I realize what she's done. Emboldened, I step over, not around, and follow her.


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