THE GARDEN OF Dreaming

           "As I travel, I turn around and see the white clouds below--so beautiful. And then: fear. Unadulterated fear, for the second time in my life. So here I go into the ordeal, descending. Things below look smaller than they are. And the path is narrow, all in ice shining. If I slip, nothing can save me. I go down onto my knees. I begin to crawl. I am about to shoot myself in the head. 'What a crazy thing--you must come down from here!' So, I get near the bottom and begin to vomit. It all comes out, all the fear comes pouring out. And then, the clouds burn away and I see the slope leading down to earth and it is gorgeous, dazzling, covered in alpine flowers like a Persian carpet. So I say, 'Popie, let the gods stay up there. You come down and save yourself.' So I did that," she says, brushing a few late summer leaves from the foot of Olympus, "and you see what has happened--this mountain is just a rock, here in my garden. With a bit of help, even this 70-year-old woman could move it."

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