mount utopia

Among the grass and bugs I lay. My legs are field stones that feel every bit their billion years. I know not the length of time that’s past since I took a rest here.

The sun once haloed the summit of Mount Utopia, like Jesus in a portrait, however, a catarac of clouds has cast my goal into shadow.

The picnic lunch, scattered in my collapse, is being recycled by the ants, unlike me, they waste nothing.

Oh, how the morning went with a skip and a smile, boundless energy kept me aloft. The tales of a wonderous ‘creature’ beyond the ancient ridge exhilarated my soul and made an avatar of my limbs, as they carried me across the plains.

Last night, intoxicated by the drink, the scent of campfire, and flames that spoke in crackling tongues, I was hooked into this journey. One that apparently must be taken solo, to connect with the spiritual.

Fool to listen! The teller was known to be a showman with a flair for the dramatic, prancing about the earth stage, every gesture shadowed by firelight. Oh, such timing too, a pregnant pause with a hand to the forehead, as the ‘seeker’ stood in awe of the first glimpse of Mount Utopia. What bunkum!

The wordsmith failed to caution the reality of an endless expanse land, flat as an ironing board. He failed to touch on the heat, and thirst, with no fresh springs to replenish the canteen. My mouth and throat have been sandpapered with dehydration. And now Utopia mocks my condition with rain clouds, just out of reach.

I sympathize with Moses, condemned to see the Promised Land, but unable to set a sandaled toe inside.

A grasshopper lands on a leaf nearby. “May I borrow your legs, Jiminy? They’re so strong and could propell me to Utopia in but a few leaps.”

Overcome by what must be madness from a shrivelled mind, I swear the locust speaks.

“First of all, good Sir, my name is not Jiminy, for I am not a cricket. Secondly, I’m afraid they’re much too small for you. I see that you have given up for lost, but let me tell you something. It’s a secret, so you’ll have to hold your ear close.”

Intrugued at what a verbal insect might say, I give it my ear.

“You are not finished. It’s true, your legs are useless, but your arms work.”

I scowl, not undertsanding. “So what am I to do? Walk on my hands or drag myself to the base? Then what? How do I reach Utopia that way? How, Jiminy”

The grasshopper cussed and shook its head, I swear it did. It can talk, afterall. “Are you a monkey? Because that’s what you are essentially calling me. Shall I call you Curious George? Why not just get the man in the yellow hat to help you, then? Would you like that?”

I shook my head.

“Good, then we have an understanding, about that at least. On the other matter, not so much. But I suspect that is a common experience for you.

You don’t need to drag yourself, for that will only tear your skin and ruin your shorts. Nor do you need to reach the base. You only need replenishment and for that, you just need to reach the rain. Yes, it’s true that I can leap two hundred times my body length. However, I am much smaller than you. As I have said, your arms work just fine. Stop focusing on your legs and use what you have.”

“I’m sorry, Jiminy, I’m not following.”

The bug slapped his head, “Once again, please stop calling me that. One more time, Curious George, and I shall leave you to your fate. What I mean is that you can use your arms to push yourself into a rolling motion. Roll until you reach those clouds and they will douse you with life.”

A light went on in my cobwebby attic and I was filled with hope. “I see! Yes, I see! Thank you, Jiminy!”

But the hopper had left. He must have been content that I would survive, yet I was a bit miffed and offended.

Nonetheless, I tossed the bitterness from the attic window like Aunt Gertrude’s moth-balled dresses, and proceeded to roll until I was underneath the glorious percipitation!

Yes, I climbed the summit and saw the ‘creature’. Can you not see my beaming face, as I stand here regaling you?

No, I will not tell you what I saw, that’s for you to discover. But if you go, remember to bring more than one canteen of water, do not lose hope, and listen to those who seem to have nothing to offer.

Written for Sue Vincent Weekly Write Photo Challenge




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Born and raised on a farm near Brockville, Ontario, Mark Bierman's childhood consisted of chores, riding horses, snowmobile races across open fields, fishing trips to a local lake, and many other outdoor adventures. He was also an avid reader of both fiction and non. Transitioning towards adulthood also meant moving from the farm and into large urban areas that introduced this country boy to life in the big cities. After a short stint as a private investigator, he moved into the role of Correctional Officer, working at both Millhaven Institution and Kingston Penitentiary, until it closed.

32 thoughts on “Darkness#writephoto”

  1. A super story, Mark… and particularly the closing comments. We are usually more than we think, just as the smallest can offer the most help…and the rewards of finding that out are indeed part of a personal journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mark, Your words had me on the edge of my seat. I was not too sure where you were going and where you would end up. I am caught up in the world you create, possibly end of life? yet, hope and possibility to go forth. My interpretation 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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