Of Fields & Hills & Snow

“I want to climb that hill.”

We left the restaurant, after enjoying an evening of  food and drink in a send off to Kyle, who was leaving for Kentucky the next morning.  It was Ethan who gazed up at the snowy, brush covered hill next to the parking lot.  But after making his comment, he moved for his car and I hopped in my place in the back seat.  In a moment, though, I realized Ian and Kyle were both missing from the vehicle and I looked up.  There they were, motions in the dark, crawling, climbing their way to the top.

I considered for only a moment, ignoring Ethan’s mutterings about how ridiculous our two companions were being.  I must have exited quietly (though, not intentionally so), because I would later learn that Ethan had still been speaking to me about the behavior of the others for another few minutes before realizing I was no longer in the car.

Climb.  Climb we did.  As I caught my friends, I accidentally coined the term Margaret-ing.  I was dodging the branches and bushes quite carefully and was calling for my companions to do the same, as only recently our good friend Margaret had managed to stick herself in the eye in a dark, snowy wood, ruining half her vision, perhaps for good.  (I share this because she would giggle at it in spite of her now pirate-esque vision.)

Once to the top, it was time to discover our prize.  Sure, we had the distant view of the parking lot below.  Sure, we could see Ethan’s car where he sat, still likely conversing with an absent me.  Sure, we had the pride of the climb.  But what, we had to ask, what lay beyond the tree line just past the hilltop?  What grand new land had we discovered?

As we broke through trees, it was a field we came upon.  Far in the distance, lights.  Beyond them, well, surely no one could know.

It was at this moment it we decided that the most logical course of action was not, in fact, to climb back down the hill to our warm, waiting car.  No, surely it made more sense to jog, nay, run across the field, toward the distant lights and only then making a phone call to Ethan directing him to drive over to…uh…wherever and pick us up.  You can see the logic in this plan.

Run.  Run we did.  Running from reason.  Dodging, well, not much of anything really…it was a pretty open field.  It was as we ran I remembered that at no point in Hal Higdon‘s guide to running does he mention burgers and beer as recommended pre-race sustenance.  It was more my body doing the reminding than my mind.  I slowed.

But no worries.  We’d reached the lights.  An empty lot.  A road.

To the right, the road curved down in a direction very likely to lead to the restaurant parking lot we’d just recently inhabited, a curve a certain waiting driver could easily be directed through to our present location.  To the left, the road went on in a wide arc to who knows where.  The choice was clear.  Ian ran left and we followed.  Somehow during this quest, Ian managed to both run and complete a phone call, during which he directed Ethan through a series of twists, turns and, apparently, donuts.  And there he was, his two glorious headlights, a warm rescue and ride, our prize for conquering the cold and the dark.  And that hill.

“Ethan…we did it!  We climbed the hill!”

“…you guys.  You guys are idiots.”

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