Thursday, 3 November 2011

Coconut Hill


This is the hill that stretches steeply up towards the sky behind my childhood home.

I led the first ascent of this hill one summer's day many years ago, armed with a hand-drawn conqueror's flag, a bag of iced gems and a Tupperware box filled with dry Frosties.

My brothers and I didn't take the road that wraps itself around the hill and leads you gently to the top but instead we dumped our bikes at the bottom and scrambled our way up the steep slope to the summit.

We planted our crested flag with pride, we ate our iced gems and Frosties, I declared that the hill would be thenceforth known as Coconut Hill and then we scooted back down the hill on our bottoms as fast as we possibly could.   

Since that first ascent I've spent many hours at the top of Coconut Hill.

I've run across it, I've sat on it, I've cried on it, I've sledged down it, I've eaten picnics atop it, I've prayed on it, I've laid and watched the clouds on it, I've jumped in cow pats on it, I've skidded and scooted all the way down it, I've stood in awe and surveyed the ever-changing view on it, and I've dreamed some of my most  powerful and long-lasting dreams on it.

And on Sunday afternoon, whilst John caught up on three hours of lost sleep, James introduced a new generation to a love of the mountains, my Dad painted the eves of his house and my Mum baptised four new members into God's family, I snuck away, all alone, and climbed it.

I watched my long shadow stretch ahead of me as I wound my way up the steep road and I smiled as I saw the valley spread out below me. 

I hopped over the new fence that now runs alongside the road and ran with my arms stretched wide to the ridge of the hill, where you can look down and see the most beautiful view in the world stretching out as far as the eye can see.

And as I settled myself beneath the lonely windswept tree that sits defiantly on the horizon, I felt solidness of the earth beneath me and the thinness of the air above me; I listened to the silence of the sky and I soaked up the solitude of the place.  

"Hello, Old Friend" I whispered to the hill.

And the hill kept its silence, but I'm sure I heard the wind bend and whisper in my ear, "Hello You, Welcome Back."

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