I often like to walk in the evening in the mountains as it is a time of such peace. Popular mountains and mountain routes are so often empty of poeple after 5 pm and in these summer months it is light long enough to do quite a good route before dark.
Last night it was Tryfan – This mountain is spiky and rocky, and I went up the north ridge which is a grade 1 scramble. It was a beautiful evening and the sky was clear, sun was shinning and all was well. Myself and a friend took it easy as we knew we had plenty of time, and really enjoyed the views on the way up – so often this route is done without really looking back at where we have come from and last night I did this a lot. It was amazing to see how much ground we had covered and the overall shape of the land as we did so. The bottom very quickly looks a very long way off.
So often it is like this in life – we keep going forwards and forget to appreciate how far we have come and how we are not back where we started at all even if sometimes the landscape continues on in a similar way for some time. Taking the time out to stand back and look is often a good way to allow this recognition to touch us more deeply.
Also for much of the time we were climbing in a direction that faced us directly into the sun – how difficult it is to look at where we are putting our hands and feet when the sun blinds us with its wonderous light. At these points we had to focus on each movement specifically, using other senses such as touch as well as our hand as a shield for the light. It was all doable enough, but there were areas it was hard to get a good look at what was ahead for the light in our eyes.
As an analogy of life how often do we complain because we can’t see what is coming – not for the difficulty immediately before us – but for the joy and exuberance of the moment, in retrospect we sometimes tell ourselves we should have looked more carefully, slowed down and see what was coming, sometimes we even decide not to enjoy the moment for fear we will miss something important in the excitement.
My experience last night tells me that enjoying the moment is safe to do whilst also being completely in the moment and not looking too far ahead, it would only been of the worry of what is ahead that would have stopped our progress, seeing that each hold and foot placement was indeed on the right route up – the worn rock and the shapes I knew so well, kept us step by step in the right place. Concern about too far ahead would have taken our focus off our next step and into the ‘what if…’ away from what was.
It was a wonderfully beautiful and spectacular evening to be out, and on our descent we saw a temperature inversion begin and create its layers of clouds half way up the mountains, so stunning a sight to behold! The creation of beauty in process, beauty from what is.