Ascend - By Tom Brady

Neither Jack nor Jill wanted to go up the hill. It was a sun-soaked day. The trail was dusty, and they were already thirsty. 

“I know this is something we should do,” said Jill, “but I'm so worn out from everything else, I have little energy left to climb.” 

“Yeah,” replied Jack.  “There has to be a reason to put out the energy to climb this one.  Lately, I think that all we accomplish is to see other hills that we need to climb. It's losing its appeal even though it's important.” 

“Sit,” commanded Jill. “Let’s talk about this,” She pointed to a log, and they sat. “We've always believed in the work that’s demanded to make social change,” sighed Jill. “Now, though, it feels like a burden, and a pointless one at that. Maybe the problem is that we're not young anymore,” she added. “Our job now is to courage young people to step up and tackle issues. We‘ll cheer them on and celebrate their victories.” 

They were silent, and content to listen to singing robins.  Jack finally blurted, “Do you remember the issues we tackled 30 years ago? We were living in that hippie neighborhood, and we made grand plans over coffee at the corner cafe.  Ideas for change were exciting. Climbing the hills of change wasn’t a big deal. We looked forward to it.  We believed our climb would accomplish something. Do you remember that?” 

“Oh my gosh,” said Jill. “The more hills the better.  When we descended, we felt great. The landscape had changed and our climb created that change.  A climb invigorated and produced energy.  I wonder what's different? Is it us? Is it the terrain? Do we need new hills, different challenges?” 

“Hills are the same everywhere,” retorted Jack. “I think there are a lot more of them though. People can't keep up. There are new obstacles to get to the top, and less reward once you do.” 

“We should talk to some folks to get their thoughts and ideas about strategy,” ventured Jill. “They might renew our energy. We grumble too much and don’t make enough effort. The problem isn't the climb, but that we’ve lost the drive to do it.” 

“The World has changed,” murmured Jack. “Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by it all. Do you feel that way?” 

“I do. The world has changed, but it's always immersed in change. Some people love the challenges, results or not. There's nothing new. What's changed is us. “ 

“That's true. Life is more complex and demanding. I have less energy. The hills feel bigger.” 

“Well, what do you want to do.” queried Jill. 

“What do I want to do?” Jack paused. “I want to go home, bake a fresh cherry pie, and eat slice after slice while watching foreign films. That's what I want to do.” 

“Oh, is that so?” She laughed. “Sounds scrumptious! But is that what do you really want? Is there still a spark in there? Some minuscule remains of the once inspiring activist?” 

After a moment, Jack heaved a deep sigh, slapped his knees, and stood. He pointed to the hill and announced, “The challenge lies ahead. We can conquer. Pie can wait, but the ascent can't. Onward, I say.” 

“Forward ho,” shouted Jill, as she stood with arms raised triumphantly overhead. 

They clasped hands, then Jack and Jill went up the hill. Yet again.

1 comment

  • Silver Gladstar
    Silver Gladstar ptld
    What a marvelous story! Thanks!

    What a marvelous story! Thanks!

Add comment