Sunday, February 5, 2012

How do you negotiate a mountain?

Here.  You fill in the blank, as if you were me:  Today while I was _________ , I got to thinking about __________. Seriously, I'm getting predictable.  Anyway, this afternoon, I ran the back nine at Albany Muni Capital Hills, which has some monstrous hills, and I was mulling over how one gets to the top of the mountain - to the other side.  As I was making my way up the absolute biggest hill on my route, gasping and forcing my ever-so-heavy feeling legs up the hill, I took one peek at the top. Or at least what I perceived to be the top. Sometimes our minds play tricks on us, don't you think?  I locked in my goal mentally.

Once I knew where I was going, all I needed to do was focus on the next step. Again. Again. And again. My eyes carefully scanned the ground directly in front of me for obstacles, stumbling blocks. Sometimes it's like a regular steeple chase on the ungroomed trails, but it's never boring and my ultimate destination is motivation enough. My pace varied, the internal vision I have kept my drive strong.  Up I went.

But, I know there are other ways to scale a mountain. Some are devoted to a constant stare at the peak of that mountain. Gaze never wavering, a steady and consistent pace. Not eyeballing the ground immediately ahead, but visually projecting to some future place.  While I respect this other method of mountain climbing, it seems to me to lend itself to more frequent falters and falls. Because if you're not looking at what's next - if your focus is too distant, how do you leap the rocks in your path?  The piles of decaying leaves and the mud that sucks at your shoes?  How do you negotiate a mountain?

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