My hardest challenge is patience. I can see, sometimes too clearly, that object I desire. It may be a project, or a thing. It can be a relationship with a person, or just finding out the end of a book you’ve been reading for a while. My instinct is to charge ahead, declaring my desires, not noticing the signposts or signals along the way.
When fellow hikers tell me they are ‘peak baggers’ or ‘trail runners,’ I am reminded of this failing in myself. What is the point of the journey, if you are too focused on the end? Do they have that moment when they realize that in the struggle to win the prize, they missed the beauty of the trail?
This is something I have come to with age, this realization that the victory found at the end is far sweeter if every moment along the way is savored. That is not to say that those moments, even most of those moments, are sweet. In truth, I find that shortly after starting, the stages of the journey are more often filled with frustration. ‘Why am I doing this?’ is a question I frequently find myself asking. When hiking a stretch of ascending trail, where the grade is slow, but unavoidably up, my question may transform into, ‘Who’s stupid idea was this, anyway?’
But then, there are moments: a slow smile, a bird’s song, a vista that opens with such beauty that your mouth falls open and your breath stops. These moments remind you that life is not the goal; it is the journey made up of small discoveries woven together with determination, each one building on the next, until you arrive.
As a reminder, I leave for Scotland in three days. I will resume posting upon my return.