One of those things that can frighten me and delight me in an instant is the thought that there are mountains ahead.
There are always mountains ahead.
Sometimes those mountains are just a mountain. Just one devastatingly beautiful mountain covered in glistening snow with visible crags and silent moving glaciers.
Often I catch an early morning glimpse of the spledid Mt. Rainier of my home. After I enjoy the view, I wonder if I will climb it today. There are days I look away quickly praying I won't. And there are days I desire it more than anything.
Because I truly believe I can.
That particular mountain has its own weather. A known fact that we at the base marvel at. On those elusive sunny PNW days I can sometimes see snow storms at its peak. A dusting of snow around the edges. Those are the days I pray that I will not climb it.
Not today. Please not today. The view from below is too amazing to miss. And scary.
There are times when that single mountain ahead is just a hill softly rolling and covered in the changing colors of Autumn spattered with many colors. This hill I have hiked many times. Sometimes that windy trail goes on for miles, but the steps are peaceful and refreshing and energizing with the quiet nature song and cool breeze.
But I hiked that trail once as dusk set in. And it was different. The same trail with its quiet nature song and cool breeze seems a far cry from the one at dusk when all the shadows whisper and the wind seems to feel as cold fingers on the back of my neck. And I just know I will not find my way.
That the wildness and the darkness will take me.
It never does, even when it feels a surety.
I dread the day a mountain is in view, but as I revel in her beauty I take note of the rolling hills before her. Those are the days I might just stand there for more than a moment moving my toes around in my old hiking boots to make sure there are no lumpy socks anywhere. Every hiker knows the problems associated with starting a hike with lumpy socks. I might also check my pack for water and jelly beans and gloves. Might also bend down to check on that beautiful German Shepherd's collar.
When facing that deceptive mountain I am glad she's with me. Mountains are always better faced with someone at my side, no matter how many legs they have. Truly.
Sometimes the trail up the mountain is easier than it looks. Or harder.
Sometimes the trail into the mountains is windy or strait. It can be clear or covered in deadfall and muck and running water. Sometimes it's steep, too steep and I move very slowly. Sometimes I can run the downhill and really feel like I'm getting somewhere.
What I have learned is this: just take a step. Just one step. Then another one. Until you know for certain you are moving forward and it is really happening.
Face it. Breathe the fresh air. Wriggle the toes. Hold tight to that leash.
And just take that first step.
It is, in fact, just a mountain and you might as well get to it.