Monday, July 8, 2013

climb every mountain... because it's there

Where we live, there is a famous mountain. It is a major tourist attraction. It looms over the city. It has a park and hiking trails. Surprisingly, we have never climbed it. I took kids on a hiking trail next to it last summer, and, of course, they asked when are we going to climb the mountain. I said, one day (constant refrain). Then I was busy being exhausted while being pregnant. Then my belly became too big for Ergo to carry my daughter in. Then I had a newborn. Then something else happened. And something else. In short, there were multiple reasons why climbing this mountain was getting postponed.

Deep in my heart, I was hoping to check it out, climb it one day when the kids are in camp, and it's just me and the baby. I was even considering one day last week, but there was a high chance of rain. It rained the whole week. I was crabby. This week rolled in. This is the last week of camp for the kids. This morning I told myself: it is going to be today. I will walk up the mountain.

I am sure that there are plenty of people who live here and have never been to the summit. I am sure there are plenty of people who took the cable car up and down. I am sure that there are plenty of reasons why I should not be climbing this mountain. But it has been calling me, and here I was, at the bottom, ready to ascend.

I put the baby in Baby K'tan, grabbed an over-the-shoulder diaper bag, and went. I've got a few comments on the way: ooh, she's doing it with a baby! I also looked worriedly at sweat-drenched people descending. But I also saw another mom, who had one kid in a backpack, and another small one whom she was encouraging to walk. I mentioned to her how I admire her stamina. As I keep walking up, more and more beautiful views were opening up. I have been reading up on watercolor painting, and each view made me think of what a gorgeous picture it would make. At some point I saw the birds soaring eye-level. I saw the plants stubbornly pushing through the rocks. I kept walking up, one foot in front of the other.

I made it to the summit, following a much older gentleman. He was a tall, skinny man, slightly stooped; walking slowly, yet purposefully. He was at least four decades older than I am. I kept thinking: if he can do it, I can do it.

The baby slept the whole time, his face looking upward. Standing on the summit, taking in the view I've got that sweet rush of success. I did it! The mountain called, and here I was! The sky, the trees, the sheer expanse of rock. Top of the world.

There on the summit I got a phone call from my mother. I knew better than to tell her exactly what I have been to, but I did say that I was out walking with a baby and checking out a hiking trail. She immediately came up with the reasons why I should not be doing this. I could have told her about my dream of getting up here. I could have spun it into exercise. I could have told her that she is shooting down my dream. I did not. I just told her that I make my own decisions.

We made it!
On the way down, I thought: how many times do we say "no", and for no good reason? My kids certainly have their own dreams and ideas. They usually need my help in implementing them, and I am usually too distracted to listen carefully, and think whether my reflexive "no" will shoot down yet another dream. How many times I have my own dreams, and I shoot them down myself, because I have been trained to be sensible...

I am planning on printing out some photos from my climb and posting them everywhere around the house, to remind me that sometimes mountains need to be climbed simply because they are there.

the summit

I hope they are still happily married

the sky reflecting in a puddle

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