George stood at the bottom of the stone steps leading to the top of the grassy hill. He looked up toward the top and started counting the steps, reaching twenty before he had to stop, as the steps above the twentieth were difficult to individually discern from his vantage point.
He sighed, remembering when, in his youth, he would have been able to vault up these steps and reach the top without even breathing hard. But that was then. These days George knew that he would be winded before he reached the twentieth step, realizing that even then he would barely be half-way to the top.
“You can do it, George,” he said aloud to himself, as no one else was within ear shot. “One step at a time, George. No rush. No records to set. No pressure.”
Taking deep breath, George lifted his right leg, pushed down with his left, and almost willed himself forward to scale the first step. He continued this process in a slow, deliberate, and determined way, one step after the other, counting each step until he reached the twentieth, where he pause and looked back down the hill.
George paused on that twentieth step, breathing deeply and trying to calm his rapidly beating heart. As he looked up toward the crest of the hill, he sensed that the incline had become even steeper than the portion he had just completed. “One step at a time, George. No rush. No records to set. No pressure,” he repeated as he started the next part of the ascent.
He stopped counting each step as he conquered it, concentrating instead on managing his heartbeat and controlling his breathing. He didn’t know how long it took to get there, but he finally managed to make it to the very top step.
As he stepped onto that final stone at the top of the hill, George saw a little figure running toward him. “See Grandpa, I told you could do it,” shouted the little figure, who ran up to George and hugged the old man’s legs.
“Anything for you, Tommy,” George said, patting the head of the boy who had vaulted up the steps without even breathing hard just moments before.
Image: JS Brand