Mountain After Mountain

Red Rock Canyon Mojave DesertAt some point we have all been or will be lost. Whether it be in a relationship we grew out of, a career we’ve grown to detest, or simply a place in the world that no longer fits us – at some point, we’ve all longed for more and yet not known how to get there, how to leave where we are, or even what it is that we’re looking for. Being lost is as invigorating as it is excruciating because it’s only after you’ve been lost that you can be found.

Sometimes we simply wonder what is next, not being able to see through the fog that is today and all of its dense reality. Sometimes we long to see what’s just over the mountain peak although we don’t necessarily have the courage or strength to continue climbing. We long for easier days when those mountain peaks aren’t quite so high and the sun isn’t beaming down on our already blistered and worn skin. And it’s in those days that we choose to either stop and die where we are or to press on through the winding trail up that mountain, unsure of what’s next or how we’ll actually make it through. And we hope, actually we pray, that we’ll make it to the top somehow and that when we finally look over that edge, it’ll be a view like we’ve never seen before. We’ll be grateful for having decided to fight our way up that mountain and we’ll feast in the glory of reaching its crest. We’ll feel the refreshing breeze and see the world from a new, welcomed perspective.

The struggle is, though, now we must head down and face another mountain. There’s always another mountain, some bigger than others. Some are tougher to climb. Some have rocky terrain. Sometimes it rains or pours as you climb, sometimes the sun shines. Some days you’ll feel like the best mountain-climber there is and other days you’re lucky to remember how to put one foot in front of another.

So many related to Cheryl Strayed’s Wild because it’s a perfect analogy to what so many of us experience over and over again in our lives. We get lost and we run to the mountains to find out what’s true and real. We fight our way through tough terrain and climb peak after peak. We get to the top to realize that we have to do it all over again and each new step is as scary as the last. We often don’t know what lies ahead or how in the hell we’ll make it to that next peak, and yet, the days continue to pass and each one offers us the decision of what to do next. Will we keep climbing or will we stand still in fear? Will we push on to the next peak or will we stop and die right where we are? Sometimes, we don’t have the strength or courage to push forward, even though we might want to. Just like the mountain climber, we pause for a bit and rest. We recharge and somehow find the strength to keep moving forward.

I wrote this while reading Wild and noticing how applicable it is to everyday life for all of us. We might not all go hike the Pacific Crest Trail, however, we’ll face mountain after mountain in our own backyards. As we venture into a new year, I send wishes of beautiful views and easy hikes. I hope you find the courage to trek on, even when you don’t feel like it, and that you have many days filled with sunshine and sunsets. With love, Pamela

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