Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Peaks and Valleys OR Ravines
Ah, Tuckerman's Ravine. It feels so good to stand dwarfed in its belly, pausing before your ascent up the massive rocks to the mountain's peak. We all look happy now because the skies were clear and the energies were high. Ignorance is bliss. Ten minutes short of reaching the top of the ravine, the dark clouds floated towards us, bringing instant rain that seeped our dry clothes and enthusiasm. Our visibility went from hundreds of feet to, maybe, 10 feet, where we had to grope for subsequent cairns, piles of rocks to mark the trail, to help us navigate the trail to Lakes of the Clouds Hut. We did eventually get to the hut and the disposable ponchos did spare our change of clothes in the packs but other members of our hiking team were soaked to the bone. You just don't expect to leave the base lodge on a sunny day, temps climbing into the 80s, and hit rain with hurricane winds on the same day. That's Mt. Washington for ya -- the most unpredictable weather in the United States, so they say.
That's life, too, isn't it? Unpredictable like a sunny day turning into something unexpectedly cold and windy? I never thought we'd use those ponchos from Target -- for emergency only, I told the kids -- but we did use them and we were grateful. Be prepared for anything. With life, be prepared for anything.
I liked being tucked in the ravine looking out over the vast range of White Mountains, the markings of a dormant ski area, fast-moving, white, fluffy clouds. When we turned the other way, we could see the trail ahead and moving spots of red and blue, other hikers who had ventured onward up the mountain. Life is that journey where we can take a pause, re-evaluate where we are and where we're headed, but, oftentimes, it is in vain. I didn't expect the rain.
I didn't expect much of what has happened in my life.
Having that poncho tucked into my backpack was like having a little bit of faith tucked into my heart. Faith keeps me moving along the trail when life brings me unexpected rain. I have it to take those fearless next steps forward. I could succumb to the cold and naked lonely fright of trying to be in control, but I prefer to take pause where and when I can -- like in the belly of the ravine -- and move forward in a spirit of learning and adventure with trust in something greater. Life is just more fun not knowing and trusting in something beyond myself.
The rain just made the whole trip more interesting.
That's how I see it.