Yesterday, I climbed a mountain. (Okay, I didn’t literally climb a mountain, I hiked a trail in the Flat Irons on the edge of the Rocky Mountains, but it sure felt like mountain-climbing to me, especially as I struggled to keep up with my brother who takes to trails like a mountain goat.)
Yesterday, all that mattered was getting up to the top of that trail and making it back down again. Nothing else mattered. I didn’t pull out my phone, I didn’t have my bag with me, I didn’t have to focus on a to-do list, because none of that stuff would help me get up the side of that freaking mountain. All I could do was concentrate on my breathing, push my limbs, and keep going.
I didn’t really have much space to think about what was going on in my life because all I could think about was getting up and back without falling. It was kind of like an escape.
I had great conversations with my brother, I saw beautiful flowers, I looked out over breath-taking views. And after it was over, I felt accomplished.
As we neared the end of the trail on our way back, I didn’t want to reach the car. I didn’t want to have to come back. And sure enough, after we started driving home, my phone rang. Real life was calling me. I had a new job and plans had changed and I’d have to report to that job in two days (now tomorrow). That’s good, right? But to me, the ringing of the phone paralyzed me with dread and fear and I don’t know what else. (That’s been happening to me a lot lately, when my phone goes off, I just don’t want to face whatever’s on the other end, even if it’s something good.)
Because I still don’t want any of this to be real.
If I start a new job, that means I have to put on a brave face. I have to concentrate. I have to pretend like nothing’s wrong around a bunch of people who have now way of knowing what’s actually wrong. I have to deal with the countless mistakes I’ll make. I’ll have to worry about a schedule that might eat away at the time I get to spend with my family. But I have a job, please hear me when I say I am so grateful. I’m just also… scared.
Everything is not okay, but I have to keep going as if it were…
And when I was climbing in the Flat Irons, I didn’t have to think about any of that, and it was amazing. I scrambled up piles of rocks, clung to trees, sat in the shade of a boulder, and the sky had never looked so blue before.
If I could only name one thing that I love about the Rocky Mountains, I’d have say it’s the Colorado wildflowers. They’re all over the place, bursting between rocks, clinging to edges of cliffs, sprouting up amid monotone fields, and thriving on the tundra. Growth in the most unlikely places.