Today I took a little hike. Ok, I took a damn long hike up Superstition Mountain. In fact, it was probably a bit more than I could handle. As circumstance would have it, I ended up having the weekend free from what was supposed to be a climbing trip in Flagstaff. Given the free time and my determination not to have my whole weekend shot by the various events, I decided to stubbornly trek out on my own.
As I got about two-thirds the way to the top I really ran out of steam. I found myself pretty tired about every thirty feet of climbing. Granted I'd been literally stuck on a Stairmaster on steroids for the last hour, but I was too close to give up. So I ventured on, made it to the top, wandered around the flat iron (as they call that big massive piece that juts out on the south side) and eventually started my climb back down.
Now, my intentions weren't simply to climb the mountain. I was hoping to relax a little at the top, take some very valuable time to think as I sat literally miles away from civilization. Instead I rested, took in the view a little, got bored, and decided to head down. As I reached the bottom, it occurred to me that all that thinking I was hoping to do totally went out the window. It wasn't that I was hoping to contemplate the meaning of life or that sort of thing, but I wanted to simply take some time to think about things that are going on in my life and what they mean... where it's really all headed. Perspective, if you will. As the day went on and I felt the effects of fatigue, sunburn, and soreness, I started making some connections with what just happened and where my head really is.
I recently went to Yosemite. It's one of the most beautiful places I expect I will ever see. Yet, the whole time I was there, I simply couldn't take it all in. I could capture as much as I wanted with a camera, I could stare at it all till I was blue in the face, but I just couldn't make sense of the beauty. I had no gauge, no perspective. What did it really mean to me?
In the last few years I've really been struggling with my faith. Not that I've gone evil or anything, but I haven't taken any real time to "talk to God" or think about my salvation. What this hike taught me is that sometimes we need to slow down, sacrifice our desire to see things accomplished, in order to really even admire or benefit from those accomplishments already made. I've been living life way too fast in the last three or four years to pay any attention to the scenery flying by me. I was so damn tired from my hike I had no juice left in me to consider the sight that lay before me. The same goes for pretty much most of what I've accomplished lately, right down to my friendships.
Considering all this, it's easy to say (and I have used this excuse before) that it's just where I'm at in life. Sorta "the age of not believing" if ya want a vintage quote from Bed Knobs and Broomsticks. But the truth is I'll have to shift gears here eventually... and soon. I think I have a habit of working, of productivity. I can't just sit there and watch television, I can't just let a day go by without at least thinking I should be cleaning up something or running errands or paying bills. Perhaps this is me just coping with what life really is. That'd really suck.
I don't think so though, and I think that's where faith comes into play. I guess I consider it a compass so to speak. It doesn't actually guide you anywhere, but it gives you a sense of bearing. You may not always be headed north, but it always lets you know in which direction it is. I've been having a lot of trouble really figuring out where my mind is headed. Sure I've got my whole life planned out before me, but most of that has nothing to do with how I live, or whom I live it for.
Although the hike was a good one, I probably would have been just as happy with Telegraph Pass in South Mountain. I would have taken maybe an hour or so to do it and I would have been back down and in the pool by twelve. Perhaps I would have slept the rest of the day away. Perhaps taking it easier would have helped me pick up that rather new looking book I keep in the top drawer of my nightstand. Hopefully this lesson has some sticking power. In the mean time, I think I'll take this rare occasion of enlightenment to get to bed at a decent hour.
Originally posted Sunday, June 17, 2007