I was running up a hill the other day, so Kate Bush’s song, “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” (1982) popped into the stream. While running up that hill and thinking of her song about relationships, I thought about how easy it is for “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” to be about trying to change your life or achieve something, just get somewhere.
I’d be running up that road
Be running up that hill
With no problems
Running up a hill seems more apt as a metaphor over something like running in place. The exertion needed to run up a hill makes it different, as well as your attitude. When you’re running up that hill and begin tiring, breathing harder, sweat bursting out of your body, your attitude changes. You thought, “I can do this,” when you began. It seemed like a friendly challenge for yourself. Now, as the hill goes on, and your teeth grit and your muscles flail, you wonder. Your body flags, will flags, your heart pounds, and you breathe harder and faster, reaching a point where you decide, “Can I make it? Should I go on or give up?” Attendant thoughts, like, “Why am I doing this,” and, “Nobody else cares, nobody else would know if I stop,” enter.
But I knew, and I kept running, although I gotta tell you, I was a lot slower for much of it until I issued a final hard, determined burst and made it. Then I walked, hands on hips, gasping and sucking air, perspiration all over me, enjoying the view…and recovering.
Going back to that song, though, I often think of it when I know of someone I love that’s suffering, and think, “If only we could swap places, so I could take that on for you, and relieve you of your pain and suffering.” But if there is a God, it doesn’t seem like God likes to make deals.
Naturally, it relates to writing, too. Most writing days are stoic, persevering days of going on, like running on a flat. Some days become more powerful, days when I get a special wind and feel like I’m running faster than light. But there are days and times when I’m running up that hill and it seems endless and pointless.