A little over two years ago, I experienced my first hike ever. After several hikes in between, yesterday, we repeated the adventure of Mt. Diablo.
The unfriendly cadence of the alarm woke me after only a couple hours of sleep. A night of an unexpected restless seven year old mixed with a fully expected restless me, left little time for zzz’s and plenty for counted sheep. I roll out of bed and into a hot shower to clear my head and get ready for the day.
It hasn’t yet been a year since we went on what has come to be known as the hike of death. It really was just a hike where there were a lot of mosquitos and I hurt my knee. However, because I have an affinity for the flamboyant in any given situation, the hike of death title shall remain. The unsettling nature of feeling helpless on that hike also remained and played tricks on me into the wee hours of the morning.
We arrived at the mountain after a Starbucks stop and an Indy 500 style ride in a minivan through some country backroads. The weather was fantastic. Brisk and yet just enough sun to give you a little hug to warm you up.
We headed out…and up.
The somewhat conflicting thing to me about hiking, is that all too often, I don’t want to keep walking.
Many times I just want to stop and be. To look at the little dots of life below us, the hawks floating in the air above us, the surprise flowers, the crazy clouds, and the stillness that is so profound it can take your breath away.
It was a magnificent day and the six of us all marched to the beat of our own individual drummers and continued on up the mountain laughing, talking, silent, and pausing for breath in repeated intervals along the way.
Hours after our departure from the van, we stood shivering at 3849 feet at the summit, triumphant.
We were surrounded with fabulous views and amazing architecture as we paused a bit to take it all in.
After an amazing dinner on all accounts, I find myself in the van heading home with multiple snoozing passengers. I reflect. I relive the day. I’m at peace. I think of all the many things to be thankful for in my life and wish my baby would still be awake when I arrive home so that I could smother him with kisses. I see a church billboard that reads…If you don’t climb the mountain, you won’t see the view. I silently scream Amen. I remember that the couple of big mountains I am currently climbing in my real life back at home are waiting for me. There is no where to go but forward. Backwards just sucks. What a waste of all the work already done. Staying still won’t get you anywhere and despite the miserable conditions you may or may not find yourself in, you have to push forward. I study every detail of the sunset out my window and wonder if in heaven we will get to jump on those billowy clouds or if God meant them to remain looked at, but untouched.
With the most eclectic mix of music you have ever heard in this one great life we live playing softly in the back ground, we start to near home and instinctively the others start to wake up. Then Wham. Remember Wham? Everything She wants begins to play and one by one the van becomes a fantastic Wham on wheels concert that would make Simon Cowell shiver. The darling 18 year old who bravely joined her parents and this group of forty somethings for the hike, breaks the display of all of this undiscovered talent by asking if she is the only person in the car who hadn’t heard that song. She’s answered yes and I promptly felt every one of the days that was adding up to the 40 years of life that I have lived. I silently belly laugh remembering when I was her age and hearing any OLD PERSON play John Denver or something else that I did not comprehend. I now understand what it is like to live through an era and remain a sudden, albeit forgotten fan, when the memories come flooding back from the mere notes of a song. Wham was fantastic. The memories of While Wham was playing moments are still fantastic and every 4o something in the car remembered. One day she will be there too….only then I will be 60. I shudder and return to reality just in time to catch the My God, I don’t even think that I love you….sung in high pitched attempts of greatness by one of my distinguished and unnamed pastors.
We arrive home and after a couple bars of more forgotten hits and some serious white boy cabbage patch moves in driveways, we say our goodbyes and go our separate ways.
I am content because after the first hike, I could barely move and now after the same hike, I am walking, just like a regular human. Progress is great. My thighs even agreed to let me bend down to hug my seven year old AND stand back up. I spent today in a little pain. A little soreness. Just enough to remind me that my health is important. That my muscles and my heart scream to be pushed and IT. IS. GOOD. I vow to keep pushing so that I experience this soreness on a regular basis and then…I think back to my mountains. While I wish far to often for the removal of them from my life, I wonder if they are as valuable as my semi nagging sore legs. Painful enough to remind me to be thankful for my life in the very first place. For somehow in a strange twist of irony living with pain reminds me of the fragile gift of the beauty of life. Without that pain, it might just be all too easy to forget.
30. The view that’s worth the effort
31. Hawks that soar
32. husbands that take your hand
33. billowy clouds
34. steaming hot pizza
35. a change of clothes
36. flowers along the way
37. fudgesicle frozen yogurt that tastes like its name
~~~~~~~~~My ever in progress Thousand Gifts list.
Linking up with….