New Horizons

New Year’s Special

Jim clung to the side of the mountain. The next handhold was too high to reach comfortably. Sweat poured down his face.

He threw himself forward with all of his strength. Gravity caught up just as the tips of his fingers hooked over the ledge. Grunting with effort, Jim secured his feet against the rocky cliff face and leveraged himself over the edge.

It wasn’t the highest mountain or even the most difficult to climb. But it was a sacred place. At least, for Jim it was sacred.

He pulled two camping mugs from his knapsack and filled them from a stout thermos. Next to one mug, he set a framed photo of Hector, his best friend. Jim lightly tapped one mug against the other.

He sipped bitter coffee as he watched the horizon change colors before his eyes. “I’m just in time,” he commented.

For ten years, Jim and Hector climbed this mountain to watch the sunset on Hector’s birthday. This was the last year Jim would ever make the trip.

“It’s as beautiful as it always was,” Jim said. He rubbed his eyes roughly. “Good luck searching out those new horizons, man. I’m going to miss you.”

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