There was a public invitation to bring in the solstice by hiking in silence up Mont Royal in time for sunrise, so I got up at quarter to four and headed down. Finally, I thought, as I followed the Yogic young, some of whom had bicycles strapped to their backs, I am going to climb the real trail, not the tame one. But it turned out to end up as perpendicular rockface. Half the brave souls continued, including those with bikes. Half turned back. I really wanted to do this for personal reasons. I wanted it to be a new beginning for the second part of my life. It was all about entering a new stage, at age 51. But I hadn't bargained on such danger. A man in an orange shirt stood behind me. He was thin and a bit older than the others, but not as old as I am.
"Are you going?" He asked in French.
"I'm deciding. I don't think I can. You go ahead.'
"It's like life. You can do it."
He said this, and a few other things, in a calm way that I tried not to find prophetic. Then he said, "I'll stay with you and make sure you are all right." And he did. Even through the point of no return: a sheer rock from which I knew I could not go back down - I had come too far and would surely fall. But continuing up looked impossible. But it was not impossible. By a series of quiet prompts from a few feet above, and a few private consultations with both our inner guides, I managed to get to the top of the mountain, where my helper gave me some water and said, "Now we retake the silence."
He was kind, but he was something else, too. He said, during the moments when I was wondering if I would be the person for whom the rescue squad was called, that he wanted me to go more slowly. "You are trying to move forward before you are absolutely sure of your grip on the present," he warned. "You can't do that and succeed. You have to go more slowly. You have to be absolutely sure, one hundred percent, that you are on a sure footing, before you try to move."
I thought that was a pretty good mid-life lesson. The sunrise was magnificent. A raccoon came by to see me.
I realize that perhaps I should have paid more attention to appropriate foot attire, and not worn this:
On June 23rd, 2011 03:41 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Sometimes we are blessed with gifts that appear when we need it the most. This morning, it was your blog entry. My throat ached and tears fell as I read your words, knowing that they were also for me. Thank you Kathleen and thank you to your kind encourager.