Summer break is over and we are getting back into the daily rhythm of things. During the break, we went hiking in Austria and regardless of my fear of heights, I managed to make the hike up to the peak of the mountain we were staying at. The hike goes up to 1900 meters above sea level and while there is a gravel road that winds around, we opted to take the paths that climb up through bush and forest growth. They might be a bit steeper when it comes to incline, but I’ve found that hiking through forest and bush is less energy consuming than taking the gravel roads. 1900 meters is a milestone for me as I only made it to 1200 meters when we attempted the climb last year. To be able to reach the top felt like such an accomplishment. I will admit that I had moments where looking down made me feel like I was about to leave my body.
It’s so weird to be having this fear when I grew up in the mountains. To be clear, climbing up mountains has never been the problem–it’s the getting down that has always been. I remember my elder sister getting quite exasperated because I would just sit at the top of the mountain trail leading down to school and crying until she came back up to hold my hand on the way down. Eventually, of course, one sort of decides to bury that fear and just make the journey downwards, but the fear never goes away. It lurks right there.
There was a brief moment during the downward climb when I did have a panic attack and just had to stop and breathe and allow the wave to wash over me. But it was okay. The world didn’t end. I could get up again after that and continue on the journey.
I think about the hike as I write this post and I think about art-making and storytelling and how when we are called to create, it sometimes feels like this giant mountain that we have to climb. Sometimes, the vision or the dream can feel huge and overwhelming if we think of word counts or scope or project descriptions.
There was this moment in the hike upward when the top felt unreachable–we were at that point where the top is just beyond your sight, but you’re almost there. I remember thinking: Okay, let’s just do this. Count ten steps. Just keep counting ten steps until you get there.
To you who are on the journey, don’t give up. Just keep counting steps until you get there.