Monday, December 28, 2009

Against the hill

A hill is a difficult and annoying thing to climb: this is what I was meditating as I climbed a very tall, very steep hill yesterday afternoon. Perhaps, if I had been younger, I would have found the climbing of the hill slightly less difficult and annoying, but it still would have been exceedingly difficult and annoying thing to do. I do not, as a rule, like hills.

Some might say that the hill should never have been invented. I don't know about that. I treat hills as a fact of nature, and the facts of nature are often difficult and annoying. I have been lucky, myself, to grow up in an exceedingly flat country that presents no surprises, hill wise. Balranald was on the Hay Plains, an accurate name in more ways than one, but at least it never possessed any of those frustratingly uneven and lumpy bits of ground that necessitate the sweaty climbing up one side and undignified hurtling down the other.

Some might maintain, in defence of the hill, that the adventure in climbing to the top is rewarded by the view attained once reaching the top. However, it must be pointed out that that view would be so much easier and more readily seen if the hill was not there in the first place: it obstructs rather than makes available a view. The invention of that man made hill, the skyscraper, at least represents a slight improvement on the natural contours of the geographic hill, thrown up as some kind of geological razzamatazz, the fancy of some preposterous and mad god. Thanks to those handy little glassy holes in skyscrapers, you are able to see into, if not right through, them: they've got that one up on their natural hilly counterparts.

Why do we have hills at all, though? Life would certainly be better without the hill: imagine the calming flat contours of the world without the hill: just a single, level plain stretching in all directions, with nothing impeding the view, and nothing presenting anything more than ordinary effort to the casual or serious traveller. Ideally, the view would be grey. It is, really, the perfect egalitarian dream. It's not particularly happy, but at least it would require less effort. Some might argue that hills are picturesque, and could improve the view a little bit. I suppose that is true; hills are so picturesque that they would make excellent pictures. They could be hung up, here and there, to improve the landscape without, you know, actually needing to be climbed.

I climbed the hill yesterday. I climbed the hill again today. I shall probably climb the hill again tomorrow. And, as I climbed the hill, I could not help but thinking of the point of hills, and why such frustrating things should exist that we need to climb down them only to climb up them all over again once the exercise is done.


Kate said...

I never noticed all the hills in my neighborhood until I started running, but I now feel quite confident saying that I must live in the hilliest place on earth.

The other day I was reading a cheesy motivational thing about running, and their advice for hills was to think to yourself as you start climbing a hill, "Oh, there you are, Hill. I've been expecting you. Come run with me." Yes, seriously. "Come run with me?" Doesn't this seem dangerous?

Anyway, keep on chugging! You'll be king of the hill in no time.

Dan the VespaMan said...

Being of the ilk who commutes upon two wheels, hills are simply there for the purpose of rolling down very very fast and having your picture taken by local constabulary upon reaching the base.

Yes that's right, the government put them there to raise revenue from speeding fines. They have no other purpose.

Mitzi G Burger said...

Not even a hillock, Tim?

TimT said...

I'd be a pillock to spurn the hillock.

TimT said...

First poem I've written in weeks.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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