The Mountain in the City

By Ethan Maurice | March 8, 2017

There once was a city with a big mountain in the middle. Hundreds, sometimes thousands of people climbed the mountain every day.

When the sun went down, though, a funny thing happened. The top of the mountain became the most beautiful place in the entire city, but nobody knew because nobody climbed the mountain in the dark.

People didn't climb the mountain in the dark for a couple of reasons. One reason was that everyone believed hiking was meant to be done in the daytime. The second was that the city decided it was too dangerous to climb mountains in the dark and would fine anyone caught a large sum of money.

So when the sky got dark and the spectacular electric grid of the city turned on, stretching for miles and miles and miles in every direction from the top of that mountain, nobody climbed up to look.

One day, a boy who lived in the city saw a beautiful photograph taken at night above another city's lights. He had climbed the mountain during the day and thought the view the from the top of the mountain at night might be beautiful too.

He knew he could get a large fine for climbing the mountain in the dark, but the boy sensed an adventure and decided it to be worth the risk. Besides, he'd already hiked the mountain many times in the day and knew the trail. A flashlight would make it obvious he was climbing the mountain, though. So he decided not to use one, relying on the light from the city below to find his way without showing where he was.

Late one night, he climbed up the dark mountainside. Most of the city was asleep below as he climbed, but if anyone was awake, he knew he was invisible, their eyes adjusted to the bright city lights below. When he reached the top he couldn't believe his eyes. It was better than the photograph. More lights than he could have imagined stretched in every direction. He sat atop the mountain and gazed out at the endless city below, wondering how he could possibly be the only person there, the most beautiful place in the entire city.

Over the years, he continued to climb the mountain at night. Sometimes he went alone, sometimes he brought others with him. When family or friends visited from other places, he would lead them up the mountain in the dark to show them the most beautiful place in the entire city. Everyone thought it was magical.

Surprisingly, he never ran into a single other person on the mountain. Curious how this was possible, he told others in the city he was thinking about climbing the mountain at night and asked if they thought it was a good idea. Everyone told him that it was too dangerous in the dark or that he would get a big fine.

Sitting atop the mountain one night, he realized that their answers were only part of the reason they never climbed the mountain at night. They were just repeating what they heard about the mountain. Occupied with other things, nobody thought to investigate and just accepted what they heard as the truth. Besides, they had many brighter, more urgent things calling for their attention than the faint outline of a dark mountain among the city lights.

As he sat there looking over that electric grid of a city below he couldn't help but chuckle to himself. Climbing the mountain at night was probably the best way one could spend a night in the city, yet there he was above a sea of humanity, the whole mountain to himself.




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