a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

bascom hill

< by JHK >

I remember waking up early in Madison.

On game days, I rose before “On, Wisconsin!” tore through the dawn, before Websters puffed the scent of brats, before hungover undergrads sipped up more school spirit.

I awoke because of the cool peace. The crisp breeze off the lake, the shock of white light refracting off concrete sidewalks and water.

On these early mornings, I had Bascom Hill all to myself. In the absence of coasties and hipsters, I resumed my love affair — my love affair with a hill. Unlike anything else in Madison, Bascom Hill made my heart beat out of my chest. It evoked my passion and limitations. Bascom Hill relentlessly challenged me — it never budged, it never moved, it never made concessions.

And so, I bounded up, up, up. I imagined my heels being lifted by helium — weightless, rising. I reached the top, looped past Lincoln, and bounded back down for another ascent.

Dangling from tree branches, cobwebs criss-crossed the path. Tiny silver ropes like finisher’s tape. I broke them as if I won gold.

I ran the hill as many times as physically possible, until I drowned in oxygen debt and muscle fatigue. White flag. I would leave the hill, go home, shower, put on the game bibs.

6 a.m.

Two more hours before bleating trombones and Badger pushups.

I had conquered the hill, and felt ready for anything.

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