Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Waiting

Crazy much?

In my case, the answer is yes. Yes, I am.  I realized the truth of this when my alarm went off "this morning." It wasn't really morning so much as it was the middle of the night*, yet I was surprisingly wide awake when I retrieved my clothes from the waiting pile. I even stayed awake as I grabbed my backpack and drove through the dark to the trailhead, where I would meet up with the other crazy yahoos whose fault this was. Surprisingly enough, I wasn't the only car on the road.  I have no idea what that fool was doing on the road at that time of day.

Our objective at this hour? To do a work out.  But not just any work out.  Two miles up a "trail" but it's so steep that you have to take a different trail down; one that's almost double the length to make it a safer angle for descent. (Some people go down the same way, but those people are just nuts.) As soon as I pulled up, my companions jumped out of their car, and we put on our fantastically fashionable headlamps and backpacks to head up the mountain in the dark.

Initially, there were excited greetings and chatting, but then the gradual uphill became less gradual. Chatting whittled down to a few short exchanges of information.  I was aware of where my hiking partners were, but we didn't talk much.  The walk was fun at first, because of the excitement of the challenge that lay ahead.  Then I got settled into a nice zone of taking one step at a time and breathing.  Lucky for me, my light only illuminated the few steps in front of me. I could not see or think about the number of steps that I still had to go.

As time passed, the trail got harder.  Bigger steps, more tired feet. I knew where my friends were the whole time, but we began to spread out as we all went our own pace.  The darkness and the effort succeeded in isolating me at that moment. One step, breathe, another step. Hard, but doable for a while.  Then the more tired I got, some of the steps seemed impossible.  How can I possibly take that one more step when that one step is so freaking huge?

Eventually the time came that I knew. I knew that it was absolutely, positively impossible for me to take another step.  The really unfortunate thing about that moment was that I was still standing on the d**n hill.  I was well past the halfway point that had a good escape, but I was still about 1/3 of the way to the top. The only way out of the predicament that I was in was to keep taking one more step.

That, my friends, is how waiting has treated me sometimes. It started out full of exciting possibilities.  When it started to get a little tough, I reveled in the challenge, determined to do well in conquering it. Then I got more focused, and was not so concerned with conquering as with continuing, until finally I landed smack in the middle of "oh, crap, I can't do this", followed by "oh, double crap, there's no way out, I just have to carry on even when I can't anymore."

Standing on the hill, I stopped a minute to breathe and take a drink of water.  Then I started with one more step at a time. One of the other hikers passed me, and let me know that the angle lessened for a while before it got steep again.  I knew I could keep going to the point that it got easier, and I only hoped it would give me enough of a rest that I could make it up that steeper point.  Just as the steeper part of the trail started to whup me and leave me on the side of the road for dead, the second hiker yelled from the top, letting us know that he had made it and we were close.  Step, step, step. Finally, his voice came out of the darkness, but very close by, only a few more steps and we were done.  Yeah, we still had to go down, but we were done with the up. Trust me, the view from up there, even in the dark, was fantastic. On the way down, we were back to conversation, seeing as how we could breathe again. We enjoyed the stars, the endorphins, and the satisfaction of a job well done.

I would say to all those who wait with me (waiting for a husband, or a child, or for a job, or a better living situation, or for health, or for whatever it is right now), you are not alone on the d**n hill. Stop and take a breather when you need to. Grab a drink.  The angle will get more manageable at times and steeper at others. We're in this together, and hopefully sometime soon, we'll all be standing at the top together, taking in the view.  Here's to hope and one more step!

*No, I am not going to tell you what time it was.  I'm trying to repress the memory.

5 comments:

  1. Great analogy!
    My oldest son does some night hiking...he really likes it. I'm not sure exactly where you are, but he wants to move out west to Jackson Hole or to Colorado this summer after he graduates from college.

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  2. I love how you find pictures and messages in everything, friend. You are kind of brilliant, you know!

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  3. Thank-you. (the big, HUGE, I-really-needed-this, kind!)

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  4. It is amazing how you can write about things like this and make me laugh. You can make it.

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  5. I have tears in my eyes! This waiting part SUCKS!!!
    But if you can make it up the hill, then we all can. I love the analogy of us all standing on top of the hill together! I always marvel at your posts! They always have such wisdom and meaning in them.

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