Lately, I have been out of balance.
Too much of this and not enough of that.
Just now, I wrote three whole paragraphs about what’s going on in my life to get me in this state, but then I read it to myself and thought,
Blah, blah blaaaaahhhhhhh.
My responsibilities and tasks are no different than anyone else. We all have things that pull on us. Fires to put out. Jobs to do. People to help. Boxes to check.
Instead of writing about losing balance, I want to tell you about finding it.
“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking”
A few days ago a friend and I took our teenage sons to climb a mountain. Mount Timpanogos is the second highest peak in the Wasatch mountains and is 11,752’ high and the hike to the top is not an easy one.
I have climbed this mountain once before, but took a different trail to the top. This time, we were climbing the opposite side and while this trail shaves two miles off the total distance, we still had to reach the same elevation so that made for a much more vertical ascent.
It’s still June so a bit early to be hiking to this elevation.
There was snow on the top, which was melting rapidly, but still there. The actual trail became a river on a huge portion of this hike so we had to either walk right in it with our shoes, or hold on to branches on the banks and avoid getting our feet wet.
There was snow obscuring the trail in many spots and this snow was clinging to the side of very steep hills so we had to dig our feet in with each step to avoid slipping. In several places, the snow pack formed precarious bridges across the flow of the run-off rivers and the only way to continue was to take our chances and trust that the snow would hold our weight.
In the morning, on our way up, we crossed one particular spot and by afternoon that snow bridge had washed away and we had to jump from rock to rock in the rushing river to get back across.
It was perilous.
We hiked for about eight hours total that day and, sadly, we never made it to the summit because there was snow covering the trail completely about a mile from the top. We made it as far as Emerald Lake, which, though partially frozen, was still a notable thing to see.
We ate our lunch on a flat rock at 10,000 feet, signed our names on the wall of a run-down shelter there, took a few photos and headed back down. The trip down was more nerve wracking than the climb up. At one point, my son slipped in the snow and slid down the mountain for some distance before a pointy rock to the back side stopped his fall.
My heart was pounding and even though I tried to play it cool, I was actually scared.
I called him by his childhood nickname (which I am forbidden to do in public) and hugged him in front of his friend because even though he is a growing teenager, he is still my sweet boy and I don’t like watching him fall helplessly down mountains.
Throughout the day, the things in my life that have been pulling me in all directions did not seem important.
Here is what was important: People, water, secure footing, food, awe for nature. I was so happy to be sharing this adventure with my son and spending time with our friends. I felt love and gratitude for them and for the whole day.
The sounds of my normal daily life were gone.
I heard the sound of my own breathing, friends talking, birds singing, waterfalls rushing, footsteps crunching dirt and rock. My nose was filled with the scent of pine, flowers, mint, and fresh mountain air.
As I walked, I kept thinking about how utterly small I am on this enormous mountain.
No one can see me from below. I am a speck.
I have walked all day long and have reached this point where I can see the valley below, but I am so high up, I can’t see cities. Up here, there are no busy people and there isn’t any traffic. No important appointments to keep or phone calls to return.
I could see how much more vast the world is than just my little sphere that at times, is so close to my face it blocks my view of everything else.
Up here, I see only endless sky and the shape of the land below, where it dips to hold water and rises again to the hills.
I was able to set my life aside and spend one precious day as a speck on a mountain.
Balance Bracelet (Leather, Italian coin)
Inspired by this trip and made to remind myself to seek balance always.