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20170629 Vicki Gardner Century 21

home : columns : clyde compton July 21, 2017

7/14/2017 4:52:00 AM
Clyde Compton: Wise man on the mountain
About Clyde Compton
Clyde Compton is a Hope resident, member of Hope Town Council and business owner whose "Real Life Fables" started during a writing seminar.

Clyde Compton


Nestled between two mountains was the valley I was born and raised in.

The smaller mountain was called "Truth" with its peaks reaching into the clouds. "Wisdom" was what the local people called the larger mountain with its summit extending upward toward the sun. Legend had it that a top of Wisdom there lived a wise man who knew the answers to all the questions that anyone could not answer as they grew older.

As a small child my family would make frequent trips to the base of Wisdom to have picnics because of the beauty of the gentle glades at the base of the mountain. Life as a child was worry-free, so during these tranquil days I spent most of my time lying on my back looking up into the sky wondering if the wise man who lived at the top was lonely and hoping some day that I could meet him and say "Hello."

Years passed, and as my small body grew so did my curiosity about the wise man. Images of what he looked like and what I would say to him if I ever met him constantly swirled through my mind.

"Father has anyone ever seen the wise man?" I asked one day as we were walking through the glade.

"Yes, my son and with patience some day you may also have that opportunity."

Growing up to become a teenager is a very difficult time and lately it seemed like my father and I talked less and argued more until one day we had a terrible fight and I decided to run away. Packing my bag I decided to go to the mountain and seek the wisdom of the wise man. Climbing up the mountain was very difficult because even though I thought I was grown I didn't have the strength that I thought I had. Part way up the mountain, darkness suddenly came and along with it the cold of night.

Frightened, I climbed down the mountain and ran all the way home. Under my blankets I cried softly because I had failed in my goal.

Married now, and with children of my own, I would take them to the base of the mountain and still dream of climbing the mountain and talking to the wise man.

Life was not as easy as I had thought it would be when I became an adult. My wife and I didn't talk to each other as often as we used to. After one terrible fight, I decided to throw caution to the wind and to go accomplish the dream that had always been in my heart.

Standing at the base of the mountain, my mind wandered back to the time that I had failed to scale the mountain. But now I was older, and more determined than ever. Slowly, one foot at a time, I worked my way toward the peak. More than halfway to the top, I looked up and saw, not far away, the entrance to a cave. When suddenly my feet slipped on a stone and I slid down the mountain. I discovered that not only was my body bruised, but also my ego, and I decided to give up and to just go home.

Many years later, I sat in my easy chair and looked around at my wife and the pictures of my children and grandchildren and realized that I had accomplished much in my life. Walking out my back door, I looked up towards the top of the mountain. I realized all of what I had accomplished due to hard work. But I had one goal left that I had never finished. Starting up the mountain I was determined to reach the top this time, even though I had failed before.

Steadily, I climbed until I finally reached the entrance to the cave. With my body trembling, not only from the climb but also from excitement, I slowly walked in.

To my utter amazement, the only thing I found inside the cave was a single mirror. Striding up to the mirror I saw my own reflection staring back at me.

Suddenly, after all these years of trying, I realized that I was the wise man on the mountain.



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