by Judith Skillman
I spent the last ten years of my life flirtingwith height, longed to ride the gondolaup the mountain—its glass sides swayingabove the green ravine that climbed,like a vine, up and up almost intothe sky. I read travelogues, imagined summits,watched films of alpinists who balancedbetween Tibet and China on the ridgeof Everest, or took on K2—which one’sworse than Annapurna? It seemed the birds’vertigo in my head when I walked the stairsto the lab, their open scaffolding,the air between each step pulling breath from my lungs as if I wereat altitude. Against that abyss—the job where, retired, I dragged myselfback to be my own boss—the view was fresh.It took off, finally, the scienceof our sun, a yellow dwarf around whichmy body flung itself once a year.