Who could arrest a creature capable of scaling the overhanging sides of Mont Saleve?
The bus bumps along the cobbled roads as my eyes absorb the scenes. Framed against the backdrop of the alps, the city holds a timeless quality. The mountain tips sit, like a child’s crude drawing, scribbled against the pre-dawn sky.
The day began with a thick blanket of fog. When I drew back the curtains in my hotel room, the window reflected my pale face back at me on against a backdrop of grey. My confusion replaced by a smile as realisation crept in.
When I step off the bus it’s fresh, crisp, cold. I follow the handwritten signs pointing the way, across a road and through clusters of houses. In the half-light, it feels like a place caught between worlds. Lights slowly flicker out in the street as they are countered in the houses and someone else’s day begins.
I reach the ticket office and pay the fare for the cable car. The sun is marching towards its ascent, the sky lighting up with its hazy flare. It floods the cable car and catches behind the mountains, fanning across the surrounding area. The windows are streaked with dust and dirt blown from the mountainside, and still, that wonderful orange reaches through.
At the peak of Mont Saleve, I exit the car and turn to face the city.
Below me is Geneva. I can see every small glistening strip of the river Rhône, streaming down its many paths through and out of the city. I shut my eyes. This feast has not left me full. I could stand here hours. And yet.
I turn and start purposefully to climb higher.
The path is well hiked. It’s steep but manageable. Eventually, it evens out at a field where the gradient of the sky fades from blue to pink. The crescent of the moon hangs ripe, not quite finished with its turn.
My body temperature rises with the effort of the climb as the external temperature drops. My breath billows out in front of me. Another slight turn and the path levels out once more.
And then here I am. I am here.
The orange is still warm, low to my left, but to my right, it’s the last brilliant blue of the previous night. The entire city below and above the dawn sky stretching for miles. I rise to greet it, up onto my toes, reaching out my fingertips, attempting to join it all.
All the reasons not to be here get swept off that mountaintop. I see the path behind for what it really is. Ended. All that remains is the path ahead.
I am not empty. I do what I love and that’s what makes me full.
I want to stay here on the edge of this mountain until the curtain of night falls once more. I want the cold to seep into my bones and freeze me clean.
It’s below zero, but I don’t feel cold any more.
Elaine Mead is an overcaffeinated, often overtired, human being and sometimes writer. She is fascinated by the different ways we learn and seeks out writing as a means to make sense of her own lived experience. Her flash and creative non-fiction has been published on Reflex Fiction, AdHoc Fiction and in Bricoleur Magazine. More words online here: articlegrinds.com