Sunday, August 21, 2011

gaining steam

Exhale. My breath bubbles up around my head.

Reach. My hand slides into the water.

Push. My tricep tightens as my hand thrusts my body forward.

My feet kick. My mind turns. Exhale. Reach. Push. Over and over.


And somewhere in there, I find a rhythm, and am suddenly ... OK. I once looked at this water and thought it would be nice to be able to swim 10 laps without stopping. Tonight, I swam 38. Two days ago, I swam 40 in 40 minutes. I still feel slow. Yet, I am improving.

And it is still so early to write about what has happened so recently. It was part of my decision on Long's Peak. It was part of a decision to no longer settle, to no longer just get by, but to aspire and conquer the moment, to make a mark, to make those first steps to the life I really want. I have so many times in the past let life slip by, not danced when I should have, not shouted out when the moment called for it.  I have moved at a slower rhythm than what I could have because it was easier that way. I thought if I did not put my full effort forward, I could not blame myself if I failed.

That is no life!

Zion was a turning point for me. Long's Peak was the corner where I gain steam and set my rhythm. This year will not be the crucible. This year words gain actions. 

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Lost Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

Long's Peak

The sun fell away from the granite mountains. I stood in the middle of two peaks on the side of another, 13,000 feet high, shivering and unprepared for the absence of the sun. The heat made its farewell. The cold introduced itself. I shunned its surprise intensity. As often happens when I find myself unprepared, I started to doubt. I started crave any semblance of comfort I could latch onto. Did I err in taking this chance without the gear I may have needed? Visions of WFR training flashed in my mind. No! I reasoned with myself. This vision is a fairy tale. I may be cold. I may be cold all night. However, there was something more to be done. It may rain on me in the night, my bag may freeze, and I may find myself shivering and lacking enough gear. Yet, this was not the case right then. It was merely my imagination trying to fix everything before it happened.

As I lay there, I began to let all the possibilities go. I would sleep a few hours, wiggle out of my sleeping bag, and then immediately awaken to the shock of the cold wind against my body. Soon the sound of footsteps and labored voices found their way up the side of the mountain. A few would stop, ask me silly questions such as, "How'd you sleep? Cold?"    Har har ...  

I cleaned up my gear, and stared up at the mountain. It looked ferociously cold, yet what was the journey for if I didn't just tough it out. A man came by and offered me a hat for my bald head, and suddenly all doubt vanished. I could not let this good gesture go without an accomplishment. I soon found myself at the summit. It was just another summit for me. Yet it was about something more.

I noticed something in the night, something during the hike up, something scrambling up the side of the rock. I was soft. I was not ready in my mind for many journeys. Yet, here I was, and I was one of the people who easily scaled the peak. I was one of the people who was not out of breath at 14,000 ft. People took me for a local, and were bewildered when I told them I lived in the Midwest. The world is often a place of unimaginable possibilities, and sometimes we must foresee the possibilities that seem out of our grasp or out of our possibilities. I must shoot not for what I can accomplish in an afternoon lingering by a ranger station. I shall shoot for those things that take much work, much of my mind and much of my strength to accomplish. For Long's Peak was a fun experience, but nothing as others made it out to be.

It's time I start shooting for my real potential.


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Ambitiously enduring.