Once I was at the bottom of a hill,
There were people everywhere
Each dressed in some adventure gear,
Hiking pants, fleece pullovers,
Shoes with grippy treads or Tevas,
Beards weren’t trendy yet, and
Knit caps were still sort of grunge.
The atmosphere was educational,
The folks were gathered to learn,
To become adventure leaders
In the mystical art of getting people to know,
To know the truth.
The truth of who they were,
Who they could become,
To help others be better,
The tree huggers,
Ropes course hangers,
Builders, programmers, and novices
Stood far away from sustenance,
Food being on all of their minds,
And the late afternoon sun bringing a glow
That stimulated a hunger.
It was at that moment, I saw the light,
A crowd of rambling ants trudging up the hill
Forming a long line for a buffet
That promised to leave scraps of dried up chicken
And soggy green beans to anyone
So unfortunate to be at the back of the line.
My mates and me, faced with a slow walk on pavement,
The curve, being a subtle switchback choked
With the conversations of front-loading, debriefing, and
The most effective belay devices
Decided to test of adventure skills on the river of rocks
Lining the paved path.
The softball-sized footholds, more about drainage, than climbing
Let us access muscle fibers and hunger motivation
The rest of the herd seemed uninterested in tapping into.
We chugged up that hill
Full of hunger, lactic acid, and a burgeoning pride
That would surely get us
To a spot in the food line
Where the tasty and warm eats
Were still being served.
After the summit,
Where lungs and quads strained,
Where pride and ego marveled at our abilities,
We were struck by the reality
That our efforts were for naught,
Other groups had worked at the top of the hill,
Their fortune, being the freshest of the feast,
Scraps for us.
At least that’s how I remember it…