Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cliffs of INSANITY

I had a pretty amazing day today. Hiking. Getting dirty and climbing just over 2500 feet to stand atop the Cliffs of INSANITY...and then to take a little walk on over to the most amazing waterfall that I've seen in a frozen state. Well, to be fair, it wasn't frozen today. Guess what...this was my work-out today. It wasn't a long hike, but when I was barely able to stand at the base of that waterfall for the quivering in my thighs, I think it's OK to call it a work-out!

There was this moment, sitting atop the Cliffs of INSANITY (by the way, that's not their real name, I just like the Princess Bride reference.), when I thought about how none of this matters. All of the craziness in our little lives, all of the drama, all of the work stuff, all of the school stuff, all of the everything. You look out over the White Mountains and think briefly about how large they are. OK, they're not as big as the mountains in the western U.S., or the Himalayas...Is anything as big as the Himalayas? But they're pretty darned big. I grew up in NY, the biggest mountain we have is Mt. Marcy at 5344 feet. Mount Washington in the White Mountains is 6288 feet. Neither a match for Everest...BUT, you look out over these peaks and think about how long they've stood...something like 480 million years, give or take. You think about how long they've been there...they've stood up to glaciers for crying out loud! Think about that, sit there on the edge of that cliff on a gorgeous fall day and tell me that all of the stuff in your life means anything.

This is the view....

From up there...The Cliffs of INSANITY

It's a great feeling. No, really, it is. It's a great feeling to realize that what I do in my daily life doesn't mean all the much in the grand scheme of nature. Those mountains will still be there. They'll bear witness to my moment, but that's about it. They'll provide a climbing challenge to us humans, they'll provide a home to countless plants and animals and they'll still be standing when we human are long gone. Knowing that, that feeling that I am small and don't have that much influence in the world is probably the most powerful feeling that I've had (other than jumping out of an airplane...but that wasn't the same). This was one of those moments where I knew it was OK to stop holding on quite so tightly. OK to let go and trust in those around me. It was a moment where I was able to experience a power greater than myself, to look in it the face and say, 'Yes. Yes you are.' It's a liberating experience to find out that I'm not responsible for everything. That even I have my limits.

Maybe this sounds like babbling to you, but tell me you haven't felt it before...that feeling of smallness in the world. That feeling that you are small and the world is oh so big. To look at those rocks, see the grooves that run along them and know that that was water and sand that did that. Yes, water and sand. Granted, it was a lot of water, frozen, and rocks, not really sand, and it took a really really long time. But there it is, water and sand. Pressure and time. Still don't know what I'm talking about? Go visit the Grand Canyon and tell me you've never felt this feeling.

Anyway, pressure and time. What's that mean to us in our little lives that are only a blink to those mountains? I think it means persistence and patience. If you know me, then you know I'm plenty persistent. But patient is something to work on. All of the stuff in our lives, it only means anything to us. It's part of what gives us satisfaction. If we want to be good at what we do, it takes persistence and patience. It's a growth process. It's the same thing with those mountains. It was a slow process to build them up, it was a slow process to shape them and start to cut them down, but there they are. There they stand. If we build ourselves through persistence and patience, we'll be able withstand all that tries to cut us down too.


OK, clearly I forgot to photograph a meal, but for the life of me, I don't know what I ate...
 yeah, gone VERY quickly
garden salad and smoked turkey sandwich at Panera


Date night at Kelly's Roast Beef!

Yeah, they're a complete addiction...

OK, so this was baked french toast made with cinnamon apple bread and fresh fruit. The baked french toast was to die for!!!

Dinner after hiking...Trader Joe's Asada Chicken, orzo with tomatoes and a big salad
trail mix...I was a little busy having a moment atop a cliff to remember to photograph the rest of my food. I had:
dried fruit
smoked turkey w/ low fat swiss and mustard on oatmeal bread
Kashi granola bar
small hot cocoa
chocolate chip dunker cookies from Trader Joe's

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