It was a sunny day, with big downy clouds lazily drifting in the mid-morning sky.  The crisp mountain air filled her lungs with the freshness of a perfect atmosphere.  She had always loved the mountains, with the stunning views and craggy majesty of the massive rock and snow formations.  The scenery of the Rockies made everything else in life seem miniscule.  She felt invincible as she stood among the stately Aspen trees.  As she made her way up the rugged trail, her body adjusted to the high altitude hike and her pace quickened a bit with each yard traveled.  Although numerous adventurers before her had cleared the path, their footprints did little to damage the ecology of the area.  She believed those like her who also traversed these trails shared a mindset to preserve the gifts of nature.  It made her appreciate humankind just a little bit more when she felt connected to kindred souls as she did on the trail.  Her ears perked at the sound of crunching leaves and she was not sure if the cause of the noise was a fellow hiker or wildlife native to these wooded parts.  She stopped quietly in her tracks and visually scanned the perimeter around her.  Her eyes spied the reason for the noise in the form of an elk, idly grazing on the fresh green shoots of grass as her hooves crunched the dry leaves that had fallen to the ground.  The hiker breathed a contented sigh at the wonder of the elk’s magnificence. She continued on her way toward her destination of a small base camp cabin at the top of the trail.  She closed her eyes periodically and drank in the feeling of the warm sun upon her cool skin.  She did not want to think, she just wanted to allow her senses to lead her away from the unpleasant place her mind and body had been for the past several weeks.  It took little effort to forget reality as she breathed in the scent of evergreens and the rugged outdoors.  It took her about an hour to reach the cabin, and she arrived full of breath and excitement.  She imagined what was about to occur and she became impatient with anticipation.   In front of the cabin was a cable line system mounted high above the trees.  She had never experienced the exhilaration of a zip line and was ready to take her first ride. Her family was there and watching as she prepared herself into the harness and pulleys.  It did not occur to her how they were already there waiting and watching as she prepared herself to glide.  She could not stop smiling and her body was relaxed and tingling waiting for the moment she would release the cable.  As she stepped up to the platform, she took one last look at her family and smiled a huge smile.  All was quiet and peaceful as her husband came forward and kissed her upon her forehead.  Everyone else came forward at that point and stroked her arm in wishes of good luck and hope for her journey.  She turned and faced the forest, took one last look at the sky and unclipped the safety stop on the cable.  The wind was brisk and fresh upon her face and she was off on her new adventure.  She had never felt so free, calm, and safe. Her family listened to the whirr of the pulley as it faded into the distance and was replaced by the dull insensitive beep of a monitor.  The sound slowed to a flat line, and her family stood bewildered for a moment as they finally remembered where they were.  They were so engrossed with their journey into the mountains of her soul; they actually forgot they were standing in a cramped hospital room.  She was finally free and they were left behind in this sterile place—the smell of pine was replaced with antiseptic.  The sounds of the mountains were replaced with muffled sobs, as her family accepted she had finally gone somewhere they could not yet follow:  on a zip line headed for eternity.  She needs no cable to fly and the feeling could be no more magnificent.  All sorrow has been replaced with elation as she patiently waits for those she loves to join her.  She knows it all happens in a personal timeline, but the wait is more than worth it. The mountains are her Heaven now.  It’s time to soar!   


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