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The Storm

Updated: May 20

I entered the trail to summit the mountain on a Colorado, August day. Alone, I set out on the path, a younger man of thirty. Where did my twenties go? It seemed to drift by, partially wearing a uniform for six-years, another saying, “I do” to the girl I loved. In and out of jobs, changing my mind about my direction as if my internal compass was spinning out of control.

In fact, my direction was not clear, but thorny with the memories that defined me up until that day. It all seemed so fresh then, the secrets I held, but I told the mountain all of them. I wonder if this is why the storm came in, filtering the peak with ice and snow, a rare summer storm so high up, forcing me to hunker down. I love that word “hunker” because it is a metaphor to what you must do in life at times. So, I hunkered behind a boulder, the pellets of ice causing a whiteout. I was close to the rocky ascent and where I knew was a manmade rock shelter at the top. One step at a time, I scrambled, hanging tight to the large rocks as I was uncertain if I would climb too far to the left or right, disoriented, and simply fall a thousand feet to what would be a certain death, but not a bad one. 

A short break in the torturous wind and I saw it, several yards ahead of me, so I stuck to my route, and when I reached the top, jumped over the side of the rock wall, landing with tired legs in the safety of the shelter. The storm blew above me, over me, and like all storms, this one would also be impermanent. Understanding this has helped me for two decades since, knowing that each and every storm that I was in, would eventually go away. I just had to hang on tight and never, ever give up. 

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