A modern dispossessed man climbs a sacred mound that an ancient native civilization builds. They descend. Rise, then Descend, a short story, was first published in Crab Orchard Review, Vol. 18 #1.
From Rise, then Descend:
"Did the ancients use walking sticks when climbing the mound? He’s not sure what kind of man needs a walking stick to walk. You just move your feet one front of the other. An old man might need a walking stick. But he is not old. He is old, compared to how old people used to get. Maybe are designed to get. He wishes he were old.
Doctor said to use the hiking poles. That they’d give him a more thorough workout. Okay. That they’d save his knees on the way down that blessed mound however many times a day if that’s the way he had to do it. Okay. He didn’t need to pay for knee trouble too. That they’d ensure he doesn’t fall. He doesn’t believe in insurance and what kind of man falls climbing a hill? But okay. He does the hiking poles. Pansy, but that doesn’t stop him.
His tremors don’t stop him.
Thirty-five some-odd degree rain blowing horizontal in his face doesn’t stop him. Climbing in a monumental refrigerator he built back when he built refrigerators doesn’t stop him. Won’t see nobody up here today, which the opposite of stops him. Can’t see nothing from the top. Doesn’t stop him."