mountain pass

The morning started with a solid barricade of mountains rising up in my mind, leaving me, “cabined, cribbed, confined . . . ” I fought to maintain space, maybe even peace, but alas, something triggers something. “Then comes my fit again: I had else been perfect” (Shakespeare). I drag myself from one room to another, desperate for an escape, but not seeing possibility. Whether cause stemmed from the bigotry of Washington GOP to unify a white-only America, the endless stream of gray clouds covering my state, or the disconcerting stream of #metoo people crying out their abusers, regardless, my mood hit rock bottom. I drown in despair despite the fact I avoided his new lies and the “fake news” disclaimer we have come to know as a presidential retort; and even though I applaud the bravery of the women who are calling out their truth, as a survivor, I am grabbed backwards into my own stolen childhood, circling around in panic attacks and emotional shattering each time I hear their abuse stories. Victimhood is a badge no one asks for, yet one finds near impossible to shed. So yes, even with the no-listening-to-the-news weekend rule, following this dystopian-metaphor converging on a convoluted new world, the walls close in around me. I think too much about the future. Breath in, breath out. I must move. With cleats strapped onto my hiking boots I get myself outside and onto the nearest mountain trail.


snowy road in Stowe Vermont

One thing you notice when you get out and about is all the other folks who are doing the same. Families and friends meet here and there to experience a well-needed shot of outdoors. Together, in a fashion, we march up this snow-covered mountain pass. People ski or snowshoe up and then slip down, but I need to trudge. I need to pound out all the angst of the week. Maybe even longer back than that, no matter, I hit heel to toe and face the incline with all that is stored under my skin.

Mount Mansfield, Stowe, Vermont

Above the tree line, I spy the notch in the pass, a simpler way through to the other side, only open to cars during the summer, yet I stand here now on a foot or two of snow pack, and catch the broad expanse of possibility. Perhaps this mountain wall isn’t as insurmountable as I had feared while back at home. Perhaps with effort and direction I might make it over this gap road. With that fabulously liberating metaphor staring me in the face, I can not help but smile a big a happy selfie smile.

selfie on the mountain road

The higher I rise, the less I feel weighted down. Clouds break into a broad blue, clouds form and slid overhead, and blue breaks out again. Heights once daunting now looked surmountable. In fact, the day became almost spring like, with water rushing down the banks; no doubt to freeze solid before winter truly comes to an end, but for now, the sound of life and promise is welcome.

Regardless of the dangers in life, what else can we do, but continue an uphill march? Certainly there are days, even like this one, when all of this effort feels like too much; but something calls you out, drives you onward, and thankfully, you find the good fortune, and sense, to follow those instincts. Propelled by interior survival motivations. Yes, life is hard. Slipping in the snow and ice make it even harder. But we continue on. Despite the conditions. We prevail.

snowy mountain gap road

I could stand and look at this mountain notch for hours. Metaphor in physical landscape. Hope.

Smugglers Notch, Cambridge, Vermont

Finally, I reached the top. For a moment it is just me on this snowy pass, standing under rock ledge and ice formations with only the sound of my hard breath and a northernly wind. But, seemingly, out of thin mountain air, a posse of skiers and boarders comes whipping around in a soaring pack, smiles broad and toothy, their laughter echoing long after they leave my sight. They feed my soul with joy. Happy day indeed.

Eyes up once more. The sky broke free of all that held it in sorrow. There is nothing but blue now.

Blue sky on a winter day

 

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