A few days ago I went hiking with one of my good friends Luke* at a local state park. It was quite breathtaking. Literally. With my face all red, my legs aching with every “one more step,” my heart pounding so fast it felt like it was about to jump out of my chest, we both made it to the top. And it was probably one of the most spectacular views.
It wasn’t my first time hiking at this state park, but it was the first time I made it all the way to the top and around. I’ve gone with a few of my other friends before and at one point I even took my dog (he enjoyed it quite a bit). The start itself was pretty decent. By this point I knew the beginning part quite well. Those nook and crannies. Those particularly slippery rocks. The part where the steps were significantly high. But as I took it one step closer towards the top, I repeatedly joked with Luke, “Just leave me here to die. You carry on without me.” And he always replied, “No. I won’t leave you here to die.” A little less than halfway, our first real breather stop, he took my backpack and carried it the rest of the way. He is in far better shape than I am, and he knew the path ahead much better than I did. That breather spot had a fantastic view, and I could only imagine the view up ahead.
As we continued on, and I yearned to just stop and turn around to head back down because I was tired, I kept yearning to make it to the top to see that spectacular view. At one point, I lost my footing and fell on my knee. It has a tiny scratch there. Throughout the trek I kept telling myself, “One more step,” until at last, half hour later, we made it to the top. The view…well let’s just say it was ‘on point’ as teenagers say nowadays.
As I stand there marveling at the tiny parking lot below me, and the lake that looked just as grand as it does at the bottom, thunder rumbled across the sky and water began to sprinkle down. At this point it was a horizontal walk for a bit. There were flowers and trees everywhere on top. I knew there were trees everywhere, but for whatever reason I had it in my head that it was going to be really rocky and hardly any vegetation up there. It’s amazing how I picture something in my head and I’m proven wrong but in a beautiful way.
The hike down wasn’t as literally breathtaking as the climb up, just figuratively. The rocks, which had been carved and moved by glaciers in years past, were so beautiful with their shades of red and brown and even a touch of black here and there. The formations were extraordinary. At one point, I saw these really smoothly indentations that looked like the outline of a giant’s butt. I would have taken more pictures, had it not been sprinkling and my battery wasn’t low. Every step down, I’d whisper inside my head, “just one more step…you can do this.” My friend was a trooper in going at a slower pace than he probably would have liked, but he kept making sure I wasn’t going to fall and giving me pointers about where to step based on rock-slipperiness (is that a word?).
After we finally made it down, we continued on. He showed me these indentations in the ground, and when we walked down them, the lower temperature difference immediately wrapped around my ankles. “This would be a grand place to sit and read in the summer time.” He just nodded his head. And at one point, because the rain made the ground rather soft and muddy, I ended up falling down. I shrugged it off like it was nothing, but I was so embarrassed. I don’t even know why.
It’s amazing how this hike resembles so much in my life. In the past few weeks I’ve been on such an emotional roller coaster. An unexplainable emotional roller coaster. My manager at work, though he never asked outright what was wrong but always hinted that he understood, described me as melancholy. The word rolled off his tongue like a ball down a hill. I was baffled that I was noticeably ‘not myself,’ because usually I hide any feeling other than happy deep inside me. In the past few weeks I tripped over a stumbling block. More than once I cried in front of my manager, apologizing, him handing me a tissue and talking me through it, making his typical sarcastic jokes to make me laugh.
In the end, despite how hard it was, and how sore I am now, it was wonderfully worth it, and I couldn’t help but be relieved to overcome something so trivial. In the end, it was just “one more step…one more step” until at last I made it to the top and eventually down again. Just like how the Jordin Sparks song goes, “Just take one step at a time, there’s no need to rush, it’s like learning to fly, or falling in love…it’s gonna happen, when it’s supposed to happen, and we find the reasons why, one step at a time.”
If you press on, on step at a time of course, you’ll eventually be able to climb over your mountain. But don’t give up because you’re tired, weary, and red-faced.