The ladder goes a long way up. It leans against a satellite and is not a place for people who have a fear of heights, or who are not warmly dressed. Extreme hikers like to climb the ladder. They have to carry safety straps, which makes the climbing tedious. Reach up, hook the strap on the rung, step up, unhook, reach up, step up. Reach, hook, step, reach, hook, step. They stumble up against the sky. If they get the order wrong, they stumble. They don't usually fall, though, because the thing that has made them stumble is the safety strap. They've forgotten to unhook and reach before they step and the safety strap has tugged at them.
One of the fine sights while up the ladder is that of the hang-gliders. The hang-gliders take the easy way up on the rail, and they drop out of Platform One, where there is still some atmosphere, and spread great wings to claim the air. They fall fast, and for a moment it seems that gravity has some hard words for them, but the wings are very scientific and do not burn up but catch the air and swoop and curve as the hang-gliders play before they concentrate on navigating their way to their checkpoint.
The hikers are not as free in their path as the gliders, but they plan to go higher. It is easier than climbing a mountain. Mountains are treacherous with mists and avalanches, but the ladder has firm and regular rungs. At first it is very tiring to the legs, but later they become lighter and the going is easier. After that point, when the climber becomes tired, they need only hook themselvs to a rung and rest, tethered while they float in dreams above the world.
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"Heavenly Ladder" copyright Morva Shepley 2009 http://morvahouse.blogspot.com