THE MOUNTAINEER (mountain climbing)

At sea level in the local Barnes and Noble
the Indian man, slight, no more than 5’3″
was asked about the book he was carrying,
a volume with Mount Everest on the cover.
“Are you a mountaineer?” a taller man
behind him on line inquired.
“Oh, most definitely,” the shorter man said, proudly.
“Don’t tell me you climbed that?” the other man joked,
pointing to the large coffee-table-size book.
“But not all the way to the top.
We were not trained to go above 23,000 feet.
For the summit you must train for six months.
I had not the time for that, maybe one day.”
“My word, what do you see from 23,000 feet?”
“On a clear day you see the clouds below you,
and if you look up, you touch the hand of God.”
The Indian man was then called by the cashier.
“Excuse me,” he said, politely, paid for his book
and waved back. “Maybe one day you will climb.”
The other man waved, too, paid for his book,
and went back to his sea level apartment,
thinking about all he had yet to accomplish.