Saturday, December 10, 2016

From the Sea to the Summit: Part I

Once again time and travel have graced me with gifts beyond measure; great friends, spectacular beauty and oddly enough, a lesson in patience. If I had to pick my most memorable journey of the past week I would certainly have to say that the climb to the top of Croagh Patrick was the ultimate in personal growth and life’s lessons learned. It pushed me past what I thought I could endured both mentally and physically and in some weird way gave me strength in return. Patience is a virtue they say and one that has not always graced my illustrious personality. But I will have to say that thus far there isn't anything in this life that has taught me the art of patience as well or as thoroughly as a single, solitary, majestic mountain known as Cruach Phádraig
And thus the story goes as follows: It was an unusually clear blue morning as I made my way towards the path that would take me to the rocky peak and as I gazed upon the mountain from below I could discern the slow progression of time etched upon its face which the mountainside seemed to patiently endure. I was intimidated to say the least. But soon my thoughts turned to my approach, to the task of reaching the stately mountains pinnacle, and subsequently, to the arduous journey back from its peak. I was in awe. 
I do not believe that I have ever known the true meaning of the word patience until the day I climbed that mighty mountain. Nor had the term “one step at a time” been more real, more…apparent or more important than during my time on that mountain. There were at times brief respites where I looked forward towards my goal or back to whence I had come, but only for the briefest of moments and I found it was during those times that I would miss a step...falter. Wavering for that one split second in time instantaneously brought my focus back to the task at hand, that next step, and nothing else. I found that when I began to reach that state of mind where I garnered such complete focus wrapped tightly in a ragged determination to reach the top, I became a different person within myself. I could feel my whole being thrive on that mountain and in that circumstance. It was in that existence that I became deeply interwoven with that place. And as such, after my fear of heights had been conquered, when I finally reached the summit and looked across the vast horizon it felt as if, since the beginning of all time, Ireland herself had been patiently waiting for my arrival. After the exuberance and exhilaration began to gently subside and I turned and looked at the daunting task of returning to the fields and valleys below, I,  for the first, time understood completely what that  journey, that climb, that struggle to reach the summit had taught me. I knew without question that I had been given a gift. A gift that had sat silently waiting for me to appear. The gift of a deep and true understanding of the nature of patience. And as I took my first step towards my descent, I knew I had been changed forever…

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