In the Poo and Out of it

Dennis and I are playing in the park in Wade Avenue. The trees are
bare and the air is cold. Mum has dressed me in a pair of overalls in
a heavy woollen fabric to keep me warm. The pants chafe my legs
pleasantly. The overalls have a chequered pattern in reds and greens.
We run across the park to its middle where the playground equipment
awaits. Our breath comes out in clouds.
We run to the see-saw, play for a while, then to the swings, then to
the roundabout. This is a heavy timber affair, a circular platform set
on some invisible centre so as to rotate with children aboard. There
are metal handrails that you hold on to while the roundabout goes in
circles that never end, so long as someone is pushing. When Dad pushes
you spin very fast and you need to hold the rail or you’ll fall off
onto the sand.
Today Dennis and I and Christopher Payne and his older sister are
riding the roundabout. There are no grownups so we have to push as we
ride. You hold the rail with both hands and you run in circles in the
deepening groove dug by pushers’ feet. My hot breath clouds are coming
faster, the roundabout is whirling, my head is spinning, the big kids
are too fast, the rail is almost yanking me off my feet as I leap
aboard at the last minute and taste the dizzy drug of motion.
Then, as we slow, it is off again and push, run and push, my breathing
a hard burning in my chest, racing, keeping up with the big ones, then
once aboard again, giddy, floating, trees and faces and shapes
blurring as they whiz around me.
The afternoon is darkening. Hot and happy to be accepted by the big
ones, I pay no mind.
Something is hot inside my overalls. Something is different: I can’t
feel the chafing. Instead there is a sensation that I half remember. I
understand what has happened but I don’t want to know it. I wait a
wordless moment, then get off and walk carefully away in the direction
of our home in Wade Avenue.
My walking is slow. Although I want to be away from here, away from
the other children, away from everyone, I do not hurry because I
cannot. I have to walk that slow, peculiar, wide-legged walk as my hot
legs send their messages of disgrace to my amazed mind.
The big children are calling out, calling my name, but I don’t turn
around. I hear Christopher’s voice and his sister’s. Loud questions.
Dennis says something in reply. Their voices say things that I cannot
make out as I keep walking. I hope, helplessly, that no-one follows. I
won’t be able to run away from them.
Here is Wade Avenue. The street lamps come on but they do not yet
penetrate the darkening. I am glad of the dark.

Mum comes to the door, the house bright behind her. I don’t know what
to do. I know what to say but I don’t want Mum or me or anyone to hear
the words. I stand and Mum is cuddling me gladly, now cuddling me
differently as she realizes, now helping me to the bathroom. Only when
we are inside that small room and the door is closed does she remove
her enveloping arms as she turns and runs a bath.

Somehow Mum has got me out of those loathsome overalls. They lie on
the floor, red and green and unbearable. After today I will never see
them again.
Mum lifts me into the bath, stands me with my back towards the tap as
she paddles warm water against my skin. Her hands are firm as she
applies soap and warm water to my bottom and my thighs. The hands go
everywhere they need to and I look out and not down. I look out,
across the narrow room, away from the overalls and succeed in seeing
nothing.
Now Mum is sitting me down in the bath and I allow myself to see. The
bathwater is clean, I am clean, the soap smells nice, Mum’s hands are
on me, soft and present.

Has Mum spoken? Nothing has been said about my disgrace, nothing about
the check pants. Nothing spoken, all is known and understood. I am in
clean pyjamas, redeemed.

***

Do my hands remember? Does my skin recall the touch, the knowing care,
the rescue?

***

Forty years later, following stroke after stroke of havoc inside the
vessels of Mum’s brain, she and I are once again in the bathroom.
Stronger hands help to lower and to raise a weaker body. Skin to skin,
they clean here, dry there, restore Mum to order and presentability.
From time to time over seventeen years this joy comes my way. It is a
job that calls for concentration but I never have to worry about
dignity. Mum has her dignity. It is inseparable from her.

Copyright howard goldenberg, 24 june 2009.

City of the Slow Kiss

Auguste Rodin's The Kiss, at the National Muse...

Auguste Rodin’s The Kiss, at the National Museum of Fine Arts, Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Buenos Aires in the silver land
Dreaming couples hand in hand
On the sidewalk, dreaming stand
Face sucking face,
They race no race.

Body in body
Folded entwined –
Lip lipping lip,
Hip hard on hip,
Two in one embrace combined,
Passers-by pass –
Are given no mind.

In the land of silver there’s little to spare:
Lovers up early going nowhere –
Nowhere to go,
No privacy, so
They kiss, on their feet.
They kiss, bees that suck
This sip of oblivion,
This slow sweet nectar
Of loving attenuated,
This tango of tongues,
This kiss without end
This slow loving
Helps transcend
Hard living.

O La Boca, warm mouth
Swallow up
Regret and sorrow,
Forget tomorrow,
Tomorrow too will pass:

Look, that’s dew
Silvering the grass!

The Work is Great

After I failed to save his aged father from the march of time and a
meeting with Mister Death, I met a secret Australian hero. His name is
Don Palmer.
Don is a passionate man. He used to work for God.  His job as a
minister of religion offered good prospects for long-term employment
but the Boss was a perfectionist and Don left.
He retired and set up an organization called MALPA. Malpa aims to
create change in indigenous communities by harnessing the energies of
the young and the authority of the Elders. One of its projects is the
Child Doctors initiative, an idea that Don pinched from remote
communities in Peru, as well as other spots on the globe not well
favoured by health services.
The initiative is brilliant. I describe it in my forthcoming novel,
“Carrots and Jaffas” (watch this space): small children are selected
and licensed by elders to receive and transmit health and hygiene
messages to their peers and families.
The personnel are blackfeller kids; no whitefellers get rich, none are
overpaid in Don’s program.
Don visited Utopia – birthplace of the Aboriginal art movement that
has beautified our lives and put Australia on the world map of modern
art.
The art is beautiful, the conditions that Don saw are otherwise.
Don writes (in part):

Dear Friends

I have just returned from Utopia. The name Utopia is an Orwellian joke, surely.
What I saw is a national disgrace.
In tiny communities the sewerage is not being collected by the
council. It is thought to be as punishment for
people like Rosalie Kunoth-Monks and her mob trying to stand on their
own feet. She says this is “slow genocide”. With naked children
playing where the septic tanks spew out across the land around their
hovels it would take a brave person to say she is wrong. Except it is
pretty speedy genocide if my knowledge of the effects of hookworm is
anywhere near correct. Some children played in urine soaked t-shirts.
Meanwhile our PM appears in a
star studded media event declaring her love of Aboriginal people and
the Close the Gap progress.
Some said that the Labor party is spooked by the
mass black vote for the CLP and will shamelessly try to parade their
“sincere concern” – according to the bloke we stayed with in Utopia –
Gary Cartwright, an ex Labor politician in the NT. He says he could
not bear to vote for Labor again.

Those at the impressive health clinic are delighted we (ie Malpa) are
going to be involved.
They have been impressed with the effectiveness of the traditional
medicines that local people use.
So much so that they have started using themselves.
A meeting with the local school principal also elicited support. She
has 17 micro schools to manage.

Rosalie and her children are truly incredible. I am touched that they
are choosing our Young Doctor project to respond to the horror that
her mob faces daily. I feel confident that they will capably make this
their own and drive it through.

Rosalie is hopefully getting approval from her Elders Council on
Monday. To work well the project requires local capacity. I am
delighted to say it is there.

At the little place we stayed in  there
was a tap at the back with a thick pipe
running off it. This was the water supply for about 50 people who
lived in the grass on a fifty meter radius off the back veranda. There
was no electricity, but they would sit around fires singing gospel
songs. I wonder what they were
thanking God for?

At one point Rosalie introduced me to a Senior man with the words “His
father fought for this country.”
I quickly calculated his age and assumed she meant WWII. I said to him
“World War II, like my father?” Rosalie quietly pointed at the earth
and said “No, THIS country”.

[Interesting side bar.

My “daughter” Nora Nelson Jarrah Napaltjarri discovered that the
Supreme Court, where her mural graces the foyer floor, has been
selling a range of products using her design but without consultation
or royalties! The highest court in the NT abusing the Federal laws
about Indigenous
art! She is very cross I am helping her pursue the matter…]

Don

Don Palmer’s Malpa project runs on donations, largely from
Deutschebank, a foreign concern that is very concerned with our own
people.
If you google “Malpa – Australia”, you’ll learn more about their
projects to improve child health in remote indigenous communities. It
would be a hard old stony heart that is not moved by what Malpa does.
As you read you’ll learn more about Don Palmer, a whitefella who is
doing our job outback.

The work is great and the time is short: it is not for you to complete
the work but nor are you free to stand aside from it (Babylonian
Talmud).

I don’t believe Don would be offended if any reader of this decided to
make a donation.

Howard

Book Alert

a long time ago i tutored a group of medical students at melbourne university

one of these was dominic wilkinson

dominic was an unusual student, interested in ethics, coffee, dumb animals and conversation

he was built like a greyhound*, played violin in an orchestra, created, directed and acted in commercial theatre, pedalled a bike everywhere, ran marathons, ate no food that had a mother and eschewed leather shoes

he read widely, had a quirky sense of humour and was far too bright to be a doctor.

straight away i recognized dominic as a fellow dilettant

i knew he would find no time to study for exams and that he would fail

and go on to some more creative field

i was nearly correct: dominic passed his exams, graduating at the head 9780199669431of his elite class

he trained in paediatrics (too easy), ethics (too simple), philosophy

( that gives makes my brain ache)

he won a rare and prized scholarship to oxford where he conquered,

returning to oz with more degrees than a thermometer

five minutes later he is a professor in adelaide and has written this book

i was right: i KNEW he’d turn his mind to something creative

if you have a a baby, plan to make one or ever were one, buy dominic’s book

or even if you just enjoy sex, because you never know…

howard goldenberg

*an expression of one of my patients: “like a greyhound – all dick and ribs”

Now for the official blurb:

In ancient Rome parents would consult the priestess Carmentis shortly after birth to obtain prophecies of the future of their newborn infant. Today, parents and doctors of critically ill children consult a different oracle. Neuroimaging provides a vision of the child’s future, particularly of the nature and severity of any disability. Based on the results of brain scans and other tests doctors and parents face heart-breaking decisions about whether or not to continue intensive treatment or to allow the child to die.

Paediatrician and ethicist Dominic Wilkinson looks at the profound and contentious ethical issues facing those who work in intensive care caring for critically ill children and infants. When should infants or children be allowed to die? How accurate are predictions of future quality of life? How much say should parents have in these decisions? How should they deal with uncertainty about the future? He combines philosophy, medicine and science to shed light on current and future dilemmas.”

Death or Disability? The Carmentis Machine and decision-making for critically ill children is published by Oxford University Press. It is now available via the OUP website on the link above, or via Amazon UKFranceCanadaUS (released in March) or Book Depository (free postage)

 

Twenty Swear Words

I celebrated my 67th birthday recently. By the age of 67 my vocabulary should be just about complete: now that I’ve reached the age of forgetting, I’m not likely to remember new words.

But my eldest grandson believes otherwise. His present to me was a list of words that Shakespeare coined. He thought I’d appreciate them. He tells me they are swear words.

I drove that 10-year old and his seven-year old twin brothers to school today. In a chorus of loving name calling that began with the familiar “Captain Big Nose” they quickly turned literary.

“You Huge Hill of Flesh!” was something to contemplate.

“You Huge Bombard of Sack!” had me looking down to my lap.

“You Swollen Parcel of Dropsies!” was pleasingly clinical and accurate. My calcium channel blocker does in fact cause me some fluid retention.

“You Prince of Wales!” puzzled me. Surely no insult, unless we are supposed to hear Prince of Whales – the prince being the Sperm Whale – and the ejaculation some sort of perverse tribute. As I frowned in contemplation of the words of the Bard, the three kids were helpless with hilarity. This epithet somehow became me. The more they chanted “Prince of Wales” the funnier it became and the more we all four enjoyed it.

Eventually the ten-year old Shakespeare scholar moved on to “You Bull’s Pizzle!” He realized from my facial expression that this was a winner. Once they learned that the pizzle was the phallus of a farmyard animal (famous as the projectile with which Jude woos Arabella in the Hardy novel) they wouldn’t let it go.

I was a Bull’s Pizzle all the way to school.

As they dismounted from the car in high good spirits, they added “You Foot-Licker!”

I farewelled each with a kiss and “You Vile Standing Tuck!” – the last word from Captain Big Nose.

20130214-215901.jpg

Unclose Shave in Yangon

I want to find a hairdresser. Or a barber – the difference is a matter of cost and prevalence of ‘product’. In my case hair is not prevalent and product finds little to work on.

I don’t really need a haircut, not even a trim of my whiskers. The purpose of my trip to the barber is to get close to people. Barbers, like doctors (in older times the two professions were one) are people who work intimately with the body. They are paid to touch, like embalmers, sex-workers and massagers.  (Many years ago, while still unhappily captive in the virginal state I visited a number of massage parlours in Hong Kong. I was a window shopper; I left untouched, a confusing experience for the service providers.)

Here in Yangon I want to bring my short hairs to the hairdresser. I ask the concierge form directions. She smiles – I’d pay good money any day just to bathe again in the smiles of Yangon – and says ‘Certainly sir’. It is very close. Just next door. Fortunately she does not add ‘You can’t miss it’, because I know I can. And I do.

I take the escalator to the third floor of the building indicated by the smiling one. I step off the moving stair and find myself in a supermarket whose narrow aisles and jampacked shelves are an indoor replica of the street markets outside. No-one here speaks English. In the home hygiene section – which is very close to the smoked, salted, cured and pickled fish section – an employee smiles and wants to help.

“Barber?”, I ask.

She smiles and shakes her head.

“Hairdresser?”

Another smile, another shake.

Between the fishes crowded in their oily jars and the soaps and toothbrushes and loofas, we two are a crowd. I perform a cramped charade in which I shave myself and finger-scissor my scalp. This time the smiles come with a nodding of the head. The lady points to her left, waves to her right, semaphores straight on, sir, smiles, nods a few times and farewells me. Three minutes later I am back. This time my lady of the home hygiene and fish section conducts me in person to the hairdressers whose shopfront I had passed a number of times, its windows being full of dated-looking TV sets and computers and earphones.

Inside there are three chairs. In one a lady of middle years sits with bits of silver paper in her hair. Her naked feet are being rubbed with oils, her calluses pumiced and her nails trimmed and painted.

She looks sublimely ridiculous. And contented.

A matronly woman waves me to an old fashioned barber’s chair, sits me down and drapes my front in a thin cape of pink cotton. The cape has pretty frills at the hem. The lady does not speak. Should I?

After a silence I look up and back over my shoulder and follow my hair lady’s gaze to the TV set on the far side of the room. She watches as a man steals up a darkened stairwell towards another who is unaware of his approach.

The scene, in black and white, is one of mounting suspense. The stair climber carries a heavy handgun. His quarry, a skinny bloke, walks around the landing aimlessly, whistling. His hands are empty. The man with the gun is powerfully built and has a menacing way with his unaimed gun.

The camera shifts from the armed climber to the unwitting waiting man. The waiting man turns his back to the stairwell at just the moment when he might have seen the climber’s warning shadow fall on the floor before him. Gunman broaches the top stair, raises his gun and abruptly the screen is occupied by a slim lady wearing bright fabrics of non-black and white who invites the viewer to become rich overnight by buying a ticket in the lottery.

My hairdresser releases an audible outbreath. The lady with silver paper in her hair breathes out, her foot beautifiers and the four of five unemployed adults crowded around the screen all relax and my hairdresser has time to ask: Mister, you America?

I am not. I say Australia. The lady nods and smiles happily – Yes, Austria. My sister Germany.  Another happy smile.

I say and I show that I’d like my whiskers cut short. I indicate the clippers. The TV show is altogether too engrossing and too exciting for me to submit to the cut-throat razor.

There is no further conversation. My lady flicks a switch, the clippers hum a soft, low speed sort of hum and start idly to nibble at my stubble. The man with the gun aims at the skinny whistler. His shot misses and the skinny man starts to pay attention. My hairdresser does not: her clippers cruise the surface of my face in a pacifist manner, threatening neither hair nor hide.

Skinny man knows how to handle himself. His movements are a fluid flurry of legs and arms as he spins low towards the bulky man. His kick to the armpit of the shooter – the gunman’s arm is raised as he fires again – disarms the thick man and upsets him. The hairdressers and the foot beautifiers and the crowd of unspecified watchers closer to the screen (now grown to eight persons) are united in their appreciation of the kick. The gun slides to the staircase, the thick man regains his feet, he shows his teeth to the skinny spinning man and closes with him.

For the next many minutes the two men wrestle, trade fatal blows to vital organs, throw each other across the landing, stomp on feet, faces and hands, hyperextend joints to dislocation point and grunt a lot.

To this point the scriptwriter has not earned his wage. Neither has the cutter of my beard: my face is warm with the caress and massage of the innocuous clippers and my beard is intact.

During the next ad break an oversize sack of rice makes its way from the escalator towards the wide open door of the parlour. Grasping the sack are two thin brown arms. Above the sack the skinny face of a young male looks seriously this way and that.

No-one speaks. The bag of rice is dumped onto a counter directly in front of the TV. Now voices rise in urgent chorus. A clamouring as the thin hand waves a receipt, someone signs, money changes hands, the rice man counts it and leaves at just the moment that the skinny man grabs the gun and chucks it down the stairwell. Meanwhile a third man steps from the elevator and enters the landing unseen. He assists the bulky man in overpowering the athletic skinny man. This takes a good ten minutes of grunting and emotionless brutality, as the skinny man performs a good deal of ballet and aerial escape. With every escape the crowd in the salon claps, with every reverse they draw breath.

Ultimately, the newcomer presses the elevator UP button, the elevator arrives and is despatched upwards. The man now forces open the outer elevator doors in time for his teammate to fling the aerialist through the open door into the lift well. The flinger grunts, the aerialist screams, a crashing sound is heard and the multihued lottery lady appears and invites us all to buy some more tickets.

The crowd is silent stunned.

I can’t help feeling my face is an anti-climax. But the haircutting lady appears satisfied: she switches off the humming clippers, examines my face, nods her head, holds a mirror behind me (an odd thing to do as the arena of all her operations has been anterior), nods her head again, rubs some Chanel No. 5 onto my face and jowls and removes my pink frilly cape.

She accepts ten American dollars without complaint. And I’m happy: I reckon ten dollars is a fair sum for the live entertainment and the TV show.

A Man Does Not Go To The Rock Twice

0600. The rock squats, silent, a massive cupcake among the grasses. Moment by moment the light changes: dark gives way to deep blues, to a steel blue, now to a primrose glimmering. All is quiet, still. Life suspended, the plain broods, foreknowing sunrise.

0621.The rock as image is too familiar. The rock as concrete reality forbids familiarity. I emerge from my small car, and regard the great terracotta thing before me: after all these years its immensity, everfresh, astonishes me. My car winds its way to the carpark. At every bend the rock changes; every aspect surprises and evokes the overpowering question: what immortal hand or eye? My question and the custodians’ questions are the same as Blake’s. The very greatness demands a myth.

I glance at the steep wall at my side and the slope flings my gaze up, up, upward beyond my range of cervical extension. The human neck cannot accommodate the reality; only if I lie on my back can I take it in. The human ant needs a postcard.

0623. Time to start: I am alone, the sole ant. The base walk used to be nine kilometres in length. Now it’s 10.6 kilometres. The rock hasn’t grown but the people who manage the Park have decided to keep us at a distance. And I need to finish my circuit by 0730: time to start.

Every one of my 67 years finds voice and protests in my lower back as I shamble into movement. I intended to run but for now this hobbling is the best I can do. The gravel path underfoot is soft and red. It cushions and retards. Slower going and harder. But with only a hundred metres behind me slow going and aching back are forgotten. The rock compels, demands all attention, with its folds and bends, its clefts and pits, its elegant curves, its sweep and breach, its sudden secret shades and sulci.

That face – those many faces – prefigure every expression of humanity. The rock gazes down with idle incuriosity, here it is a pockmarked teenager, here a gaunt pensioner, now a lady, elegant in her long dress that falls and sweeps and moves gracefully in concert with my passing. The rock shows the many faces that are human faces: here is calm, here inscrutability, here obduracy.

Three great gouges side by side at great height, these are eye sockets, empty: what is this sight that sears her eyeballs?  The rock gazes out at our killing fields, at Crusades and Inquisition, at Babi Yar, Rwanda, Cambodia, at Holocaust, at the Armenian Genocide. The rock’s eyeless sockets see all. She has no tears. No mouth here, no words.

0630. Right on time the sun comes up, shining, burning directly in my eyes as the rockface heads me due east. The wind comes up too, blowing hot hard warnings of today’s forty degrees: you step outside from your cooled habitat, you breathe, your palate dries and you gasp. The second breath confirms the first impression.

For now the hot headwind is welcome: an early headwind promises a following wind in the later stages when I’ll head west and home.

But the sun, this sun, this blaze, this interrogator’s light right in my eyes: son of man, why have you come?

My innocent run is no longer blameless.

Son of man, what business have you here?

What? Why? What do I seek – peace? Innocence?

The light glares: What gift do you bring?

Consciousness. It is all I have.

The bright light relents, winking now, filtered by thin foliage, broken by gentle rises and bends.

At this point the run might become a chore; the vista is relatively unremarkable, the rock radiating yesterday’s stored heat, the glare, the difficult going underfoot, the headwind – all might sap a runner. Instead the mechanical affair of placing one foot before another feels charged, significant. Plod, plod, breathe, breathe, the ordinary is transmuted. It is said of William Blake that he took a visitor outside, directed him to look at the midsummer sun and report what he saw. “Bright sunshine”, said the visitor. Said Blake, “I see hosts of fiery angels surrounding the Throne, singing Holy, Holy, Holy.”

I feel fires in my throat. I sip my iced water. But first I recite the customary blessing over the water, an act in which this mortal congratulates his Maker on His good idea in creating and providing the mortal with water. Water never tasted better. Like everything it is charged, touched with the sublime.

I have passed twenty minutes alone in the company of Uluru, an uncommon privilege. At my left, hidden in the scrub, is the village of Mutitjulu. Its people live in the lee of immensity. Daily they awaken to the view of deep terracotta that earlier was mine. At sunset, fire flames from the rock’s margins, the rock purples. Echoes follow me – another place, another colour scheme:

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

Around the bend now, heading south, the greens and greys relieve the eye. I can’t complain of sameness. More faces in the rock, caves that grimace, bluffs that lower, red rock that slopes down towards my feet, down, down, a slow, shy approach. The rock is within a metre of my shod foot. To step on it a profanation. I do not walk this rock. Not now.

Around another bend and another, tracing waving folds, the rock shapes here are emphatically, anatomically feminine. Inescapably feminine. Curves that flow, flow, ineffably graceful, to deepening clefts, soft in the gentling light. These mother forms beckon, embrace, call me home.

My old legs move fluently, easily. They swallow the miles. My mouth burns, it sends messages – drink, drink – messages you receive only when it’s too late. Above me rockmouths gape toothlessly, vast, cavernous, inaccessible. My eye searches the sheer face; only a mountaineer equipped with hammer, piton and ropes could reach those high hollows. But in their depths ochreous markings, patterns, declare themselves; these impossible deeps are painting sites.  No white foot might imaginably intrude. Good!

Nearing the beginning of the end, here is the Mutijulu pool, a cool, shaded dell between three high surrounding walls. Its waters are permanent. But no, not so today, not in this heat. I gaze amazed at  naked sands. Even dry they keep their cool, concealing water close to the surface. This dryness is a mirage; at all hands the growth is green, tender, silvan.

0715. Nearer the end and I am not alone. Cars pass on the bitumen that runs unseen, parallel to my path. Above me the rock has mouths with calcific projections, teeth that do not smile at what passes below. I look ahead: there, formicating on the slope, scores, hundreds of whitefellas climb hand over hand along a chain that will take them to the top. They will climb Uluru, they will conquer, they’ll be able to tell everyone.

At the top they’ll see the pits and gullies, the moonscape no-one below imagines, the scales and plaques of red; and the smallness of humans below.

I know what they see. I know the climbers haven’t seen or haven’t understood or haven’t cared what the owners write on the notice: Anangu do not want you to climb the rock.

I am not happy to see them climbing. It seems disrespectful. I feel it as if it were a personal sIight. I know and I care about it because I too have climbed the rock. A quarter of a century ago, I drove up, leaped from my car and ran up the slope. I did not see the notice. Hubris sped my feet: I would conquer Uluru; I would do it at the run, I would not stop.

Of course I did stop – after only fifteen metres – stopped and gasped, ran again, stopped, fought a breathlessness I had not known before. I made it to the top, saw how small we are and descended. I do not climb now.