I’ve reached page 80 by the end of the first day. I feel like I’ve put in some decent mileage since the start; set a fairly hot pace. But I know the slopes are fairly low here and the going relatively easy; there are sterner tests ahead. Nevertheless, I’m happy to have made a tentative Basecamp One.
Failure in reading and failure in mountaineering are in inverse relationship to one another; and one tends to be a mental defeat, the other a physical one. When reading a long novel, the most likely time to quit is relatively near the start, hence the number of people who only cite the ‘windmills’ scene when they claim to have read Don Quixote. It is a conscious decision; choosing to opt out before too much investment has been spent in terms of either time or emotions.
Climbing a tall mountain is the opposite. Failure is more likely to occur near the summit; more likely to be the result of a physical inability to carry on.
I am still only in the foothills of The Magic Mountain; and still on familiar, well-trodden ground at that. Still, it is worth doing a quick health assessment, to make sure that I am still fit for the challenge ahead. It is surprising how quickly both mental and physical lethargy can creep up. So, mental fortitude? Good. Physical strength? Good.
Time to press on.
Page 81. “After a while he lost consciousness…”
© Fergus Longfellow
Fergus Longfellow puts his faith in the philosophy of ‘one step at a time’.