“The mountain isn’t going to get any smaller,” I said as I got out of bed on Friday morning to go the local Y. I said it again Saturday evening when I exchanged my glass of wine for a work out. I said it each time I climbed onto the stair climber. Each time I did planks, and lunges and squats. Bonnie Raitt and I gave ‘em something to talk about. Aretha and I demanded R.E.S.P.E.C.T. I had the eye of the tiger. I was in a musical montage worthy of a Rocky movie.
I am preparing for a major hike this summer. I’ll be part of a guided trek up Mt. Shuksan and the Sulphide Glacier. It will include carrying a 45-50lb. pack on the hike to base camp, an 8-10 hour summit day round trip hike, and a short stretch of technical climbing. The last time I did something this physically challenging I climbed Long’s Peak. I was 19 years old! I’ll be 48 when I do this trek. I don’t mind being the last in my group to make it to the top. I just don’t want to be pathetic.
“Every time we reached the top of a mountain I hoped it would be our last. But there was always another mountain,” the roughly 9 year old Syrian girl told the camera about her flight from Syria.
I was at an event to raise awareness and money for refugees, specifically refugees from Syria. The organizers had turned Sunday school rooms into different stations along a Syrian refugee’s journey. The movie I was watching showed the arrival of Syrian refugees in Lesbos, Greece. The girl being interviewed told about her trip in a leaky boat with icy water at her feet, all her possessions being thrown overboard. She repeated how cold she was. She spoke of how far they had to walk and the mountains they had to climb.
“Dye mon, gen mon,” is a Haitian proverb that means, “Beyond the mountains more mountains.” Beyond this struggle, this challenge, this trial there is another struggle, challenge, trial.
I thought of the Syrian girl Monday morning when I did the stair climber. And again Tuesday afternoon during my work out. I am both grateful and embarrassed that my privilege connects me to her. I get to choose to climb mountains. I hope my trip will be life changing. I don’t need it to be life saving.