Friday, August 30, 2013

Climbing a Mountain

Every day (I like to think of this as true and some weeks it is, but often it's most days), I take a walk that includes a trail through a park that weaves from below to over a hundred foot gain to above in less than five minutes.  I call this my mountain.  Some days I breeze along, noting the burly barks on the pine trees that break the solid line of the newly installed redwood fence.  I smell imagined campfires instead of the sweet pine needle scent on the breeze and imagine myself in Yosemite Valley in the summer.  I pad along switch back to switch back climbing effortlessly, breathing in the day.  If I pass a fellow traveler, I say "good morning", hoping for an acknowledgement in return.  Most times people are friendly on this mountain.  When I reach the top I balance across three beams set up as part of the par course on the mountain.  I ignore the other stations.  Public displays of attempted sit ups, chin ups, push ups, and any other kind of ups besides walking up, are in the past for me.  After a time on the beams and a brief walk around the children's playground at the top of the park, I turn to head down.  I walk along the redwood fence with no pines, and look out over the stunning display of housing tracts, mountains, and freeways below.  I see an airplane on its approach to Burbank Airport, slowly descending, its distinctive coloring informing me that the skies are friendly. I briefly consider the occupants of the plane and wish them a silent good morning.  And now time to descend the mountain.  Back across the beams, down the path.  Good mornings again, unless our paths have crossed before and the greeting already given, then we nod and smile, old friends.  Some days when I breeze along the mountain is welcoming and friendly.  Most days are those some days.  But a few days I plod.  My feet feeling connected to the ground by invisible blocks of granite that I pull along with each step.  I am on the sand dunes carrying a backpack filled with cannonballs.  My back feels numb, but my mind is still nimble.  I wonder if I will ever get to the top.  I give myself permission to shorten my walk today.  There will be tomorrow.  My good mornings are solid but a question lurks at the end.  I remind myself of the small wisdoms I've offered other struggling travelers, especially, I just put my head down and go for it.  And as I do, even though on those days I feel my heart asking, why are you pushing, I find myself next to the balance beams.  With permission to fail, I have given myself time to succeed.  I often think of my writing as a mountain.  Some days I breeze along.  Some days I plod giving myself permission to not go as far, to turn back, to pause.  I wonder, what kind of day will this day of my writer's life be.  I do know the skies will be friendly.

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