My big blue truck comes to abrupt stop at my favorite morning spot along the the Kanawha River at Glen Ferris West Virginia. Across the the river the mountain rises defiantly against the darkened sky. In my imagination I can clearly hear the mountain speaking to the storm and saying “There will be sunshine today even if I have to go get it myself”. Sometimes our happiness depends on our determination. We can’t can’t stop the storms from coming our way. But we can control how we react to adversity. Will we be able to pierce beyond the dark clouds? Maybe we can and maybe we can’t. But the answer is definitely no if we don’t try. As I looked at this image I know that the sun shines just beyond the clouds even if I can’t actually see that it’s there. I also know that on my dark days there is a place of peace just beyond the chaotic pace that overtakes me. To get there, all I have to do is start to climb and not give up before I reach the top.
I grew up playing on cliffs similar to the one in the feature image above. (Sorry mom, I know you didn’t want me to. ). In those days I could free climb fairly well and would spend all day sitting on the edge and watching animals play in the valley below. Later in my late teens I went on my first organized mounteering exercise with the JROTC. When mom asked if I would jump off of a cliff because my friends did apparently the answer was yes. We spent all day repelling to the bottom and then climbing back up to do it again. On one trip back to the top my friend, Bobby, stopped to catch his breath and said “Down is easy but up is hard.” That little bit of profound observation has stuck with me for my entire life and the reason why is because of what he said next. “I have to keep climbing because home is on the other side of this mountain.”
Anything can become that steep mountain in our lives. And, it’s easy to give up halfway through a difficult journey. But the journey isn’t over until you have made it home again. It’s also okay to stop and catch your breath but don’t make your home there because there’s so much waiting for you at the top. Dig in deep within yourself and find that strength that I know you possess. Find handholds and footholds wherever you can and just keep going. Mountains are climbed one foot or even one inch at a time.
Tonight’s image was taken in Summerville Lake when it’s at winter pool. The cliff overhang is just a few feet off the surface of the water for most of year.