Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Sisyphus hill

There is a hill I regularly see where doomed souls come in the Winter. What are they doing? Why do they come? Up they toil over the packed and slippery snow. Trudging and panting they struggle in a kind of agonized slow motion to the hard won crest. They linger at the top as long as they can until some wind or dizziness pitches them onto their bellies, usually on a sheet of hard plastic, and they slide quickly down the hill, bouncing roughly as they go.

They are at the bottom again.

Do they flee?

No, they climb again. Again they toil. Again they attain the peak. Again they are jouncingly, futilely flung to the bottom. 

They get up, brush themselves off, and climb again.

Are they mad? Are they doomed? Does the sheet of plastic protect them from worse or does it seal their fate?

Rejected by the hill they are bodily hurled to the bottom once more. There is a group of them, all cast down there now. Surely some sin is being paid for, or perhaps now it has been paid for. Some ungodly hubris has perhaps reached an atonement.  For they get up this last time, pulling their sheet plastic behind them, some with what may be the corpses of the littlest among the group, lying inert, it seems, upon the planks, and they depart.

Clearly they are defeated. Maybe forever then they are finished. And hopefully, by this suffering, they are finally freed once again.


  1. I saw people doing this in New England. They'd been at it for generations and there are stories of yore when ancestors severely hurt themselves!

    1. Astonishing. I'm not sure that the point ISN'T to hurt themselves! All around baffling.

  2. Ye gods man, i think I've got it.
    The Neanderthals introduced the incoming Africans to this during the Ice Age. I'm no anthropologist, but considering the genetic record it must have some significance in courtship.
    Perhaps displaying fitness?

    1. You're no anthropologist? You sure sound like one. Are you sure you don't have a PHD in a sock drawer somewhere?

  3. Glacial Moraine Leks; The Preliminary Fitness Displays of Inter-Hominin Courtship During the Late Pleistocene.
    This is going to get me tenure for sure!
    Thanks Clerkmanifesto!!! ^_^


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