by John Wickham
As a child I was perplexed why mountain climbers would return empty-handed. They always ascended as if hunting for something lost or left behind. Then venturing up with my parents to Camels Hump in Vermont, I too looked around. But the journey down lasted 30 years until I climbed back for the meaning of the summit.
Still a youth, my descent from the mountain began with a emotional detour. I weathered internal, opposing forces. While discovering the passion of the guitar and composing, I was playing war with friends as soldier-boys. As a young adult I pursued both vocations, music and the Army. But lurking in the underworld were the disharmony and battles for my soul. Psychic-combat left no victors, only a downward trail into fog and darkness.
My last Army duty was at Fort Carson, Colorado. The Post sits like an armpit wedged between the Great Plains and the jutting Rocky Mountains. Fierce lightning storms would often park there in the Summer. It was then I felt a magnetic tug upwards to misty peaks that seemed to pierce through into sunlight.