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Call it an obsession, a need, a systematic flaw that enslaves my will and forces me upward; I’m a geisha of incline and do everything in my power to entertain the obscene angles that melt my leg muscles.

I’m not a completely voluntary sadist and it came to me randomly, on the commute home on Friday. “I hike because I need to witness nature so immense, so incredible in stature, that I’m humbled to be alive and desire to recognize my insignificance under an apotheosis of rock.”

You would need to really understand me and my detachment from emotional context to know how this works. Everybody has a trigger and mine is a beat-down that removes any remaining ember of resistance from the ego; total domination by nature seems to be one of the few things that puts me in my place.

I’m unsure as to whether I’ll ever find a moment of propitiation but identifying the triggers has been a very important step forward (and a long 40 years to find).