In this dream I was just walking down a road with two guys. I'm pretty sure one of them was McKay and I either didn't know or can't remember who the other guy was. Soon, the road started to turn into a hill. I hate climbing up hills. There are sets of stairs that I absolutely loathe. I'm just not a climber. Never have been. I only like hiking for the sake of being outdoors or in the mountains. Anyway--back to the dream. The the road started gradually turning into a hill. Dream Ashley thought nothing of it (real life Ashley would have groaned at least on the inside).
So I'm walking up the hill and started to pick up a quicker pace, leaving the guys behind a bit. Not too far--but enough to where they would have to jog for a second to catch up to me. The hill is getting steeper and steeper and, rather than opting for another road or turning down a side road (which is what I might have done if this were real life), I just keep going.
Now the hill is getting pretty steep. The guys are working hard to keep up with me. I start lengthening my stride to as big as I can reasonably stretch it, trying to just quickly get up this hill and get it over with. Then the hill gets so steep than I can't even walk it anymore--even at an angle--I have to start climbing. But it's hard to climb because this hill is just caked dirt and rocks (kind of like a well-traveled dirt road). There aren't many handholds or footholds or safe places to climb up it, but I continue scaling it anyway.
Now the guys are really impressed with me. They must know me well, because they were surprised that I hadn't given up or taken an easier route. I never hesitated once at any point in this walk/hike/climb--I just kept pressing on. They were almost shocked. Part of me thinks they wished I had wussed out because they weren't really up for free-climbing what had now become a vertical, cliff-like hill. But, not to be outdone--or perhaps just out of curiosity--they continued on with me.
At this point in our journey, I started getting really scared. I couldn't imagine myself making it up this cliff alive (or back down to the bottom in one piece). I absolutely could not-would not-show that fear though, as crippling as it felt. So I just kept climbing. It seemed to go on forever. I was exhausted and hungry and thirsty and wanted to just give up, but something inside was pushing me to go further. I felt extremely compelled to make it up this cliff. I had to get to the top or the other side or whatever was there. I had to.
Finally, after what seemed like hours of climbing, I was nearing the top. McKay had reached it just a minute before me. He reached out for my hand to pull me up. I was elated--I had made it!! All the way to the top!! I could rest and look back at all the progress I had made! But then I noticed something. McKay was not standing. He was not laying on this stomach with and arm reached out to help pull me up either. I could see his head, arms, shoulders, and the top of this chest. Was the rest of him dangling off of an equally sheer cliff on the other side? It seemed that was the case. All of the happiness I had felt a moment before came crashing down on me. Yes, I had made it to the top of this impossible hill - but only to reach it and immediately turn around and have to make my way back down another cliff. My work was far from over and all I wanted to do was rest. But I didn't let it keep me from continuing. I couldn't just stay where I was and there was no way I was going to back track down the hill/cliff I had just climbed, so I reached out for McKay's hand.
As he was helping me up, I looked and was completely shocked. It was like I had just climbed a giant dirt/rock wall, but the other side looked like an impossibly huge wrought iron fence. I maneuvered my way over the top of the cliff/wall and looked for a sturdy place to put my feet. There were several large, vertical bars spaced about four or five feet apart, and from top to bottom of this "fence" there were only about three horizontal bars spaced roughly ten to twenty feet apart. The closest horizontal bar was about seven feet down--just far enough for my feet to reach it with my arms completely outstretched above my head to hold onto the top of the cliff/wall.
So there I was--standing as stretched out as I had ever been (on a giant wrought iron fence, no less) sweating, frustrated, tired, and feeling like I had somehow found myself in a scene from Alice in Wonderland that had been left on the cutting room floor. How was I going to get out of this!? I knew I wasn't accomplishing anything by hanging there feeling angry and sorry for myself, so I began looking around for a way to get down. After a minute of searching, I saw a decorative piece in the fence (most tacky, iron fences have one somewhere in the center--flowers, or a design of some sort--like the fleur de lis or something) far off to the right. I brought it to McKay's attention and we began making our way over to it. He was to the left of me, so I would have to go first.
We side-stepped/climbed our way across the top of the fence and maneuvered our way around the vertical bars every four or five feet until we reached the decorative part of the fence. By the time I got to it, my arms were incredibly sore. All the blood had rushed out of them from being stretched out above my head for so long.
Once we got to the ugly iron embellishment, it was a simple matter of finding crevices for footholds and shimmying our way down. It was incredibly easy compared to the last few hours we had been through.
We both reached the bottom at the same time (where had the other guy gone? I don't know--I never saw him after I reached the top of the cliff and didn't seem too worried about his disappearance). It was glorious!! The most beautiful thing I had ever seen!! A straight, uncomplicated, level road stretched out forever before me. I wondered how I had ever taken advantage of something like this before. McKay reached out and I gave him my hand and we walked down the road together. No need to stop. We were no longer tired and the sweat and dirt that we had been covered in was gone. We wanted to see what was along this new road and we wanted to find out together.
So we walked, hand in hand, incredibly relieved to have made it through what we had and happy to be moving on down this much simpler road.
And that was it.