It’s about The Climb
Sunday afternoon with the promise of poutine to follow, I invited two international University of Calgary students to join me for a little walk. They come from Africa and want to experience as much of Canada as possible, on their meagre student budget. I can show them sections of the nearby Rocky Mountains. This particular hike, I did almost two years ago, and thought it to be fairly easy. Early on, the 27 year old from Malawi slightly short of breath states, we need to pace ourselves, and take time to enjoy the scenery. We come to a fork in the road.
They suggest the easy option, but I had read the reviews: the more difficult is the more scenic route. Since I am buying the poutine, they agree to go left. They have each had an intense year of studies, are here for the long haul, unable to return home, but thankful for technology which connects them to loved ones in Malawi and Zimbabwe. Our in-depth conversations have been labelled as DRDs—Deep Reality Discourses … we talk about life, the expectations of women in their countries, to be bearing children at this stage of life and the singleness issue. We talk about cultural differences, the loss of fathers for each of them, we always venture into spirituality. I love these DRDs.
And then we spot them … the wild orchids.
I take many photos, another hiker passes us, and I point them out to her. She and I marvel at their intricacy. My students admire them, but do not appreciate the rarity of the sighting. The hiker informs us of an owl nesting in a rocky opening at the top of the hike. She continues her way down and we continue our climb. We dip our hands in the mountain stream, drink of its water, the younger woman expresses her desire to spend a day with her journal next to the sound of a mountain waterfall. We marvel at the aqua green colour of the lake, and search for the great grey owl that appeared to have been waiting for us.
After the promised poutine rated as the best west of Montreal, (La Belle Patate) we return back to our normal lives, feeling a slight connection to Miley Cyrus in knowing that there’s always gonna be another mountain and it ain’t how fast we get there, it’s The Climb. At the end of the day, students returned, I marvel at the beauty of the day, the gift of the orchids, the owls and that I could keep pace with these two young women. I hope to return soon.
“I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.”
― Dawna Markova, I Will Not Die an Unlived Life: Reclaiming Purpose and Passion
The Climb, sung by Miley Cyrus, written byJessi Alexander, Jon Mabe.