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Climbing the mountain

As you walk in the flutter of twilight you feel a blurred uncertainty as if moving at sea-bottom. The path steepens. You slip and slide on fallen pine-needles, briars clawing you, a night-bird dislodged from its branch - a nightmare shadow fleeing. Will you ever reach the top? Finally, panting, you reach the timber-line - scraggly pines, thinning to a barren summit of blond grass. As dawn comes skiing, the mountains kneel below you, blue elephants, and tongues of mist lick your hands like hounds . . . All the while you're climbing one constant voice is urging you onward, but when you plant your banner in the domain of eagles, in the great distant cliffs you see your loved ones' colossal faces carved in unmoving stone. . . .

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