I'm spending some time in Seattle right now.
There's not much more to say about that.
"This is the perfect time to do that sort of thing."
"I wish I could."
Those are frequent responses. I suppose they are all valid. I could certainly agree - it is a bit crazy and there will be no better time. Still, I've grown increasingly frustrated with time and how we arrange it. If you want to honestly think about it - there is never a great time for change and if it seems like the time is good it may be just more likely that the times are rough.
I am honored and grateful for this journey. For this life. For the legs that continue to work mile after mile, hill after hill. But if I'm being true, I'm sadden by the time limit. Not just my own ticking clock, but that of my family and friends, and really everyone. What a burden, to know how this all ends.
There is only one time where I celebrate the end; I count the seconds.
Walking, hiking, biking, running, even simply climbing stairs. You never face your own mortality quite like a slight change in elevation as you move. Afterwards you feel so incredibly tired, but you also feel like you have earned a gold medal, at least I do. Every time. I could relate it to all the songs and cliches about climbing the mountain and the determination... Hills are hard. Mountains are tough.
What I like most about the inclines are the change they force upon us. Ready or not, if you want to move forward, you are about to experience change. It won't be easy. There will be an uncomfortable moment where you ask, “Why couldn't I have just stayed?"
Your lungs will fill with air that you try to savor but you feel that you can’t because suddenly there is this fear that the ten steps you have taken drastically changed the oxygen level and each breath is vital and life is fleeting and maybe you aren’t in as good of health as you once considered.
Your heart will beat a little (a lot) faster and you'll come to look over the things that brought you to your hill and the road not yet traveled. At the top, the moments seem so clear.
For a split second, the journey made perfect sense. This is what is all for! You may feel inclined to hug a stranger. I think back to after little league soccer, when the parents made a tunnel for all the children to run through; the joy, the bliss. Right before you descend back into madness, you get a glimpse of the world that you rarely get to see: the landscape spread out in front of you. Possibilities that stretch as far as you can see, and farther still. As the view bounces and bobs away, your eyes shift to look at what lies below.
While there may be doubt and pain during the climb, I secretly enjoy the challenge and I hope every journey has at least a few good hills to conquer. I’ve driven through some flat states on the way to Seattle, and I can tell you that change is always welcome.