By: Erin Ashley

The mountain trail is steep, and even I am having a hard time staying upright. The ridge I’m on is rocky and desolate, and I am the only thing moving. My chest is heaving as I struggle over the treacherous granite. At the top of my ledge, the rocks drop below a cove of pines, drowning beneath a sea of gnarled roots. When I was small it was my dream to climb these everpresent giants… Which of course was silly, they had no branches under twenty feet. I slid down the loose slope, landing on a covering of soft needles. The pines stretch high above me, converging over my head to filter the bright sunshine into bearable blotches. The trees march slowly up, out of their fertile soil onto the mountainous crags. I continue my journey upwards, to the top of the cliff that glared down at the city. The sunlight reflected cruelly off the metallic roofs and sides of the buildings. Immediately below me, fallen rocks lay sprawled on the shrubbery.

Over fifty feet down

I stood on the brink, the wind tousling my hair and the sun warming my back.

Time stands still, then ends.

Arms out stretched, I leap and soar above the rocks with the wind lifting me to its zenith.

The dream breaking loose.

To Fly,

To be Free.