Recently I did that thing people do where they pick a mountain and make their way to the top. Except when I did it, it didn't look as effortlessly easy as everyone else makes it seem, even when there's a steady and well-tracked trail to help me along. If I'm ever thinking I'm in okay shape, I'll just try climbing a mountain to make sure. Mountains tell me the truth, and the truth hit me hard that fine, sunny day.

About 5 minutes into my incline - five minutes - my heart said wait a minute; slow your roll. So I did. I slowed it down but kept it moving, and even that didn't help. Finally I conceded and took a break on a random rock off the pathway, and once I caught my breath and looked up, I realized how far up the mountain I had already walked - much further than I realized. Naturally, I took a couple pictures of the view [first photo], and for a while, I didn't want to leave that spot. Everything looked so sweet and beautiful: the sky, the perfectly puffy clouds, the trees... even though many of them were still bare, the Atlanta skyline in the distance, everything. My thirsty, sweaty, partially-hunched-over self stood there for a while like I've never seen a sunny day in my life. But sometimes I guess you really do just have to stop and smell the roses, or clean mountain air in my case.

Once I finally did make it to the top [second photo], I took another quick second to catch my breath, another quick second to snap another picture, turned around and made my way back to the base feeling outrageously accomplished [and equally out of shape]. But it's all good in the unpaved hood. People talk about mountains in a metaphorical sense, to the point where it's now a cliché, but it clicked in my head on another level that afternoon. Yeah, sure, everyone knows they're big and hard to move/climb/tackle, etc yadda yadda yadda, but dang, I could hardly walk up one with a nice little trail offering it's nice little guidance, and that wasn't even the first time I had been. Or the second... or the third...

I'll be back.