posted by Mary Lello, Wednesday, January 6, 2010, 5:00 AM
I do love it out there. I have known for many years that I belong in the mountains. When Jim and I trekked in Ladokh, India with 4 other friends some years ago I found myself gaining energy as we reached higher elevations. Oh, sure, the 16,000 ft altitude affected me and I had to take a few steps and stop to breathe, another few steps and stop. The slow, steady pace of smaller lungs born to those who live at sea level. I was always at the front of our group as we climbed higher and the peaks of the Himalayas began to appear closer. Descending would find me at the back of the pack, going slowly, regretting the descent.
I did take some time during our trip in Colorado to get out there and do some jog/walking up some easily accessed, snow packed trails. It took most of the trip to get acclimated so it was slow going much of the time - but that was fine. I’d stop and look up, always up, where the blue of the sky is startling, like the iridescent blue of a Stellar’s Jay tail feathers. The contrast of the white peaks against this blue almost hurts the senses to gaze on. The Juniper scrub brush lace the sides of these hills, short and thick vegetation evolved to withstand the harsh conditions of a mountainside, of a dry climate. Evolved with the wild fires that were once frequent and cleansing to the mountains but now get controlled, extinguished in order to save the homes that have been built, precariously, on the same mountains side.
Open air out here. Even the trees do not compete with the view of a peak. Open space, big blue sky, I expand out there. I find I can breathe out there without the constrictions of towering Pines and huge old Oaks that cover the sky and stop the eye from roaming. Only the Ocean offers that view of pure expansion back East. Our friend, Ash, who is in his 90’s once said “I don’t know what to do with the ocean!” My sailing friends will raise a questioning eyebrow to this but I knew exactly what he meant. The mountains offer the dream of an escape. You don’t need much to just start up into them, a pair of shoes and a few supplies on your back and just start walking.
I have used this image for Jim regarding his speech - we climb an entire mountain by taking one step at a time. His brain must relearn how to say a word, and it is the act of that one word that will begin to form a sentence. Word by word we will scale this new kind of mountain in hopes that he can tell me his thoughts again.
DId I get some rest and a chance to relax? Well, no, not really. Vacations are not what they use to be since you never really get a vacation from cancer. But Donna, Mark, Stacie and the Jalberts were wonderful and jumped in when they could to help. So I felt the weight of needing to do it all lifted at times. Funny how heavy that weight actually is when it's suddenly taken from me and I feel a lightness of just my own being. Reminds me of a saying I once heard, "the reason Angels can fly is because they take themselves lightly".
Perhaps I'm learning to lighten up. Perhaps there is security in surrendering and joy in the accepting. Perhaps I'm gaining new strengths by being solo on those mountains, a new sense of courage that I can offer to Jim to help him take that next step. A few needed supplies to carry so we can keep walking up this mountain that is our life now.
Climb every mountain ....
Loving you all back,