Tuesday, March 30, 2010
A long time ago, somewhere in the countryside, there was an ordinary mound of dirt. It was so small, in fact, that it could hardly even be considered a bump in the road.
On their way to town, people would pass over it. Singing their songs and talking, they scarcely noticed the small mound of earth beneath their feet.
Some of the travelers would take rest on a hillside nearby the road. Lying in the tall meadow grasses, their children would play.
Looking on, the humble mound wished that he would someday be a hillside.
One night, the small mound of dirt sent a wish to the stars.
“Make me a hillside that I may be a sight to behold. I would be a resting place for weary travelers. They might lie against my swaying grasses and find rest. Their children could play, and roll down the curve of my back and pick wildflowers. They would laugh and find happiness.”
And the earth shook beneath the humble mound.
The shifting from far below caused the mound to grow. Up and up it was thrust, until soon the mound became a hill.
Over time, tall grasses grew and swayed in the wind. People found rest in the shade of an oak tree that had grown on its side. Young ones whispered their secrets, schemed their plans and pledged their sacred vows at its top. Children played games upon the back of the hillside, and gathered wildflowers.
All these things happened, just as the hill had wished.
But, there were many small hills in the valley. Soon, the hill realized that it was just one of many hills to behold. How common this made him feel, indeed. He grew discontented and longed to be something greater.
He called to the sky, once again, and wished another wish.
“Make me the tallest hillside in the valley. People of great consequence will vow to climb to my crest and boast in the accomplishment. They will view the valley from my peak. Perhaps they will give me a fine name, that I may be distinguished from all of the other hills in the valley."
And the earth shook beneath the hill. The shifting from far below caused the hill to grow. Up and up it was thrust, until soon, the hill became a mountain.
Explorers came from miles around to climb to its peak. Looking down to the valley below, they would exclaim, “What a magnificent view, indeed!”
Scholars would come and survey the landscape, using the mountains ideal vantage points they drew important maps for kings who ruled over great nations.
The mountain was pleased by its size
But far beyond, just against the horizon, there were mighty mountains that looked like great cities, hanging from the heavens. Gazing upon them, the mountain began to feel as though he would only ever be a mound in comparison to such grand mountains.
So again, as if haunted by the memory of his smallness, he called to the sky once again. “Make me a mighty mountain! Give me rivers and waterfalls that flow down my back. Give me a snow capped crown, that I would truly be something to gaze upon. Men will build a city at my feet, just to be near me!”
And the earth shook beneath the mountain. The shifting from far below caused the mountain to grow. Up and up it was thrust, until it soon became the tallest mountain for thousands of miles.
With its crown high in the heavens, it was ever snow capped. Water flowed generously from its crests and ridges into the town that was built at its base. It became home to an abundance of wildlife. Its wild game, fish, nuts, berries and fruit sustained the townspeople below, who wanted for nothing, neither beauty nor sustenance.
For a time, the Mount was satisfied with itself. Until it occurred to him, surely there must be other mountains of similar, if not surpassing greatness to his own. And by this thought, he was tormented. In a wild fury he sent one final wish to the night sky.
“Make me the greatest mountain in all the world! Let my peaks be many and the girth of my mantle ever reaching, seemingly without end. Make me the king of all other mountains that I may lord over them.”
And the earth shook beneath the great mountain. The shifting from far below caused the mountain to grow. But this time, the shifting was so violent that great rocks fell, leaving the town below in devastation. The Townspeople moved away for fear of the mountain they had once loved. The smooth sides were littered with rocks and jagged boulders. The crown of the mountain had been thrust so far in the sky that its crown was now above cloud cover and could no longer be seen from the ground. Snow and ice covered the entire mountain. Its terrain was too unkind to climb. Its winds were cold and inhospitable even at its base.
His greatness had become so much that he was too high to climb and only fit for passerby’s to marvel at…and his summit was silent, save for the cold whipping wind.
The mountain had grown too tall to climb, too cold to sustain life and too tall to have a desirable vantage point. Now, just as it had wished, it was simply the greatest and tallest mountain.
He missed the falling waters, how they trickled and ran, falling and falling, ever downward, finding stream and river and finally sea.
He remembered the prowess of the explorers whom had scaled and climbed his sides.
Each, having arrived at his summit,they had been formidable contenders all.
He longed for the meadows, and the rolling hills of his smaller days. He missed the laughter of the children that used to roll down his back. He missed spying the schemes of lovers and feeling the strong beating of their hearts, which unbeknown'st to them could be felt deep within the earth.
The wind whipped at its lonly peak and there was a piercing stillness.
He dare not raise this final wish to the night sky, which had long been so obliging to his wishes. Instead he left a lament on the wind, which came to me and so I leave the same to you:
“Such foolish wishes I have made! These wasted years spent wanting, leaving me without sight. And now, though grand, I am all the poorer.
Oh, to be a simple mound of clay! For having tasted greatness, I would surely now revel in the richness of humility. Oh, hallowed smallness, most sacred oneness, this kingdom would I trade for thee.”