There are some moments that if you have not experienced them you have not yet truly lived. One of them can, with a bit of imagination, be described roughly as follows:
Minding your own business you stand on the ground where almost like by accident your glance face upwards. Stricken you cannot help notice the beauty of the clouds. Intrigued by your discovery you curiously start working your way up a hill. A hill that becomes increasingly more of a mountain the higher you get. Grovel covers the ground and what was once a peaceful stroll has turned into a painful climb. With each step your feet slide maliciously, your muscles ache from the strain and sweat flows like tears down your cheeks. Looking over your shoulder you realise you cannot turn back, your investment is as high as the vertical drop beside you. You have no option but to endure despite a nagging regret that with increasing persistence manifests like a stone in your shoe. Trapped on your warpath a missed step leads to an unavoidable fall. Defeat, disgrace, disappointment. You grasp on to any loose rock. Humiliated by your naivety you remind yourself of the beauty of the sky and the clouds, fruitlessly trying to motivate your shame with the promise of the reward waiting. How desperate you want to touch it. How worth it all seemed at the foot of the hill as you now hang on to loose mountain rock fighting for breath in the ever thinning air.
Eventually, by some Godforsaken miracle, you battered and bleeding reach the top of the mountain. A so impossible a task you scarcely believe it. Euphoria strikes you like a punch to the gut. Gasping for breath, at last you stand levelled with the clouds, the wind in your hair. Now there is no more mountain to climb, your battle is fought, no more efforts could possibly change anything. A moment of truth. Stretching out your fingers for touch, they pass through the cloud and despondency gives your hope a beating. Not per se for the elusive cloud, but for purpose, for meaning, for it all to not have been in vain.
Taking moment, thinking, feeling, you are faced with a choice. Some say “I had no choice” or “it was my only option” but that is never true. There are always choices. Usually people just do not want to pay the price for the choices that constitute the difference. Standing in emotional limbo on the mountain top you are faced with three options: the coward’s choice, the traitor’s choice and the fool’s choice.
The coward’s way: You stay put. Too comfortable in your “almost” situation, you stay and watch the clouds still out of reach, never quite satisfied yet out of harm’s way.
The traitor’s way: You go back. Betraying yourself you can always return downhill defeated. Risking to double the damage inflicted coming up by going through the process once more, moonwalking yourself into a reverse.
And finally the fool’s way: You jump. Using up all your bravery, all of your last energy for hope, you hopp. Internally screaming something along a suicidal “Geronimo!” while plunging towards the ground like a rock. A vertical way towards a horizontal wall worthy of an additional line in Alanis Morrissette’s Ironic. Yet for a brief second in wonderful bliss your body passes through the cloud. Soaring, falling. Like with your fingers, the cloud does not carry your weight and while all your fears are confirmed, now, at least, you know. Guessing you never could capture a cloud anyway.
As you hit the wall, bleeding, beaten, dying, you bypassed all the pain from the struggle going up. Now you can sleep soundly knowing you gave it your all, with full force, fiercely and foolishly. For a fool may hold his head high, traitors and cowards may not.