Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Once You Climb Up a Mountain...

This song keeps going through my head today from the musical Footloose, in which I was the piano accompanist for the high school kids. One of the songs was sung about the advice his momma would give... "Momma said once you climb up a mountain you can't back down."  I guess I would change the words a bit to say... once you climb up a mountain you have to come back down...

That got me to thinking about mountains and the last time I drove over a mountain pass, in a rental car, in November, on the way to California. (I love prepositional phrases by the way :&)), which started me thinking about other things, which led me to write this....

Mountain in Breckenridge, CO

What possessed me to drive over Wolf Creek Pass (near Pagosa Springs, CO) towards the end of November to get to California, I will never know. The weather was beautiful in the valley. The sun was shining and the last time I had gone through Wolf Creek Pass was during the summer and it was beautiful. IF I could I would retire to Pagosa Springs. By the time we got to Wolf Creek Pass, the sun was still shining, the little rental car was driving great, but the mountain pass was snow packed. I slowed my speed and made it up the mountain. The problem came on the downgrade. I started going way too fast!!! And "gasp" there was a slow car in front of me and a steep drop off on the left hand side of the road. I started to brake and felt the car slipping. I knew (somehow) that if I tried to pass I would probably go off the "deep end" (Not that I already wasn't). I also somehow knew that I needed to SLOW DOWN. I prayed a quick prayer and knocked the gears down to a lower gear, steered the car to the right, went off the road a little bit and bumped the side of the mountain wall on the right. Whew! Disaster averted.

Many sometimes complain how hard it was to "climb" their mountain. Another song, sung by a dear Christian family, says, "Life is easy when you're up on the mountain. And you've got peace of mind like you've never known...You talk of faith when you're up on the mountain" Many people associate the top of the mountain with victory.
Knowing that you have climbed a mountain is quite an accomplishment. I have a few friends who have climbed to the top of Pikes Peak and when they made it to the top, have found out that there's not much oxygen up there... but oh the feeling and joy, knowing that they made it to the top.

But don't forget... everybody has to come back down the mountain at some point. And coming back down the mountain is no easy feat either. Steep downgrades and sharp curves, trying to slow down to keep from falling or getting in an accident are just a few of the obstacles in coming back down. Fear, is another obstacle to overcome. I have major vertigo and am very much afraid of heights. My depth perception is off so when I look down, the distance looks a lot higher to me.  Even stepping off a stair is quite often difficult.

Victory comes not just from making to the top of a mountain. Victory comes from making it back down to the valley. The climb up the mountain took a lot of energy, but the victory hasn't been won yet. Take your time going down the mountain, don't speed, downshift as necessary and enjoy the scenery. The valley is waiting just ahead, the sun will be shining, visibility has returned...see the fruits of your labor. Victory at last.