© ICARUS GROUNDED By Dick Croy

One day in a land not far away, a land you know of though you may not know you know, a man – it could as easily have been a woman, a girl or boy – resolved to climb a particular mountain he had been trying to avoid for some time. As this was a very

tall and prominent mountain, like the Grand Tetons or a volcanic peak which erupts out of the landscape unaccompanied by foothills or any range it is part of, avoidance had become increasingly problematic. There were few places he could go without seeing it

in the distance as part of the landscape, nothing he could work at for very long before his mind returned to the mountain's image even when it wasn't actually in sight. Somewhere along the line he had become aware that his

predicament was a condition of his time, if not of the whole human race, period. Everyone had his and her mountain they were Yes, a few were climbers. Some

avoiding or actually climbing.

you could see; the progress of others you were able to infer. And now again (for he had climbed other such mountains in the past and would no doubt climb more in the future)...now it was time to make this particular ascent. He put everything else aside and began laboring up the mountain's steep treacherous slopes. Progress was very difficult

and after awhile it occurred to him that something was holding him back, making the climb even harder than it was naturally. It was his wings. here. (I know, we're throwing a curve at you

But you see, our hero, our protagonist if you prefer, That is, although he knew

wasn't aware that he had them either.

he had them, he didn't know that he knew – as in a dream where you can suddenly fly or perform some other supposedly miraculous feat and are amazed by this while immediately taking it for granted nonetheless. You must have known at some level about the

latent ability, right?) Anyway, the wings were dragging him down, holding him back. He stopped to examine them and discovered that they were detachable. This, like the wings themselves, he found both odd He

and logical at the same time; but it sure solved his problem.

snapped open their quick-release mechanism and sent them tumbling

into the abyss – chuckling at the sight and thought of falling wings. Now, his burden considerably lightened, he was able to return to the arduous ascent with new energy and enthusiasm. no time at all he reached the top. The view was spectacular. He could see into three states, And more than In

and at least that many states of mind, from here.

that: after surveying the scene for quite a while, in that state of intoxication John Denver has memorialized as Rocky Mountain High, he espied another distant high place which called out to him so eloquently that he knew he must go there (and knew that he knew, this time). In fact, it occurred to him that this was the very reason for his climb. This distant peak was the profound source of his

obsession for climbing the one he was on. Only now, then, did he realize the evolutionary purpose of the wings he had so blithely discarded. Climbing back down wasn't the answer. What a cruel dilemma! Even if he successfully

reached the ground again – a far more dangerous feat than climbing up had been – he was sure he would never find his way to the peak he could see so clearly – yet at such great distance – from here. In fatigue and anguish he fell asleep. And in a dream his

guardian angel (yes, there is one of these too) reprimanded him with the kind of self-righteous moralizing he had always attributed to these creatures, for this reason preferring to think of them as strictly imaginary. "Do you understand now?" she asked rhetorically. "The

reason for resolving an issue is not to stake out your 'position' and stick to it, come what may, but to enable yourself to put the issue behind you so as to gain a new perspective, and then to move on – hopefully, to grow." Somehow, however, her didactic but gentle reprimand, though a virtual cliche of all such encounters in books and movies, was as ineffably moving as only dreams can be. Probably due in no

small part to her parting words: "Don't worry, you must be patient but you'll eventually grow new ones." Then she vanished, or he woke up, as darkness was falling – leaving him utterly alone in this high cold place, but with around him the campfires of others like him (or her) on many of the neighboring and distant peaks, stretching to the horizon in all directions as far as the eye could see.