|pond, early morning|
This week fall weather has finally blown in to convince us it is really October. Witness not only the change in temperature but the quality of air...the early morning sky closing in, hinting of November skies to come.
It came overnight last weekend when, after a long spate of hot, dry weather, a cold front found us putting on sweaters the next morning. No one was complaining, though we are still yearning for rain. This months-long drought has left no margin for fall color; plants droop, trees shed already crumpled, dry leavings. I lost my best hydrangea to it at the house, I discovered yesterday, though strangely the gardenia next to the front door is almost supernaturally lush green.
On my morning walks, I think of what survives drought...of earth, of body, of mind. Time, I have always contended, is my nemesis; that figures into these contemplations, as well. Fall already, a year three-quarters to the finish. As am I.
Since in a few weeks, I will be leaving for another journey, I've been reading A Walk through Wales, by Anthony Bailey, to ready myself for my first visit to that country. As Bailey's walk north from Cardiff to Bangor is tinged by a bit of geographical as well as observational narrowness, I am keeping an open mind (though still appreciating his point about the complexity of a country within a country dealing with political offhandedness from its overlord).
As the chapters I read last night were beginning to close my eyes, I turned a page to a curious passage:
Do mountain climbers find summits anti-climatic? I suspect that the ascent and descent matter most and in retrospect form an all-inclusive experience in which the period at the summit figures only as a necessary way-station: a point you have to pass on the journey between going up and going down.
Reading that, I forgot momentarily that he was referring to his climb up Snowdon, and envisioned one's peaks in life. When we get to a place we believe is the apex of our intentions and dreams, does it really end up mattering as much as the road we took to it or the fulfillments which follow because we have been there? Or matter as much as the anticipation or the memory? Perhaps there is really no summit at all, except in our imaginations, which drive us to believe we have reached somewhere important.
Although, for a few moments we stop and admire the view, breathe in the rarefied air, smile broadly at our "achievement", still, looking back to it, wasn't it simply just a point in a long story that is still not concluded? I think, myself, that it matters more what happens since that point because we were there; just as it matters what happened or what we were that brought us to it. And what if the summit we think we have reached isn't the summit at all?
For a dedicated achiever, it's not an easy concept to accept, I imagine. But there are so many peaks and valleys in a day...in an hour, for that matter...perhaps there is as good a reason to celebrate the rarity of an unaccoladed one, whose magnificent view is not outward, but inward.
|stones on a path|
Peace to you this day.