Do you remember when I wrote about when we come apart from ourselves, only a few posts ago?
A week or so ago I went to Falls Creek in my southern (home) state of Victoria. The trip was by special request of Little One who proclaimed that for her 30th birthday she wanted to "walk and walk and walk on the side of a mountain and eat scroggin".
We walked over 40kms in two days, went swimming in cool mountain dams, ate beautiful food including plenty of the aforementioned scroggin (a.k.a trail mix) and enjoyed a few cheeky drinks.
When we first arrived some of us were, let's say, less excited than Little One at the prospect of walking for days but as we began plodding along the flats and trudging up the hills something happened. We started to chat, of course - traversing all kinds of topics: our dreams and our lives, the weather, when our next stop would be, our work, how much our legs were hurting and about how annoying the little spiky plants were. We spoke of things very little and very big.
On the Sunday, our bodies weary from two long walks (one accidentally longer than it should have been, *wink*) we made a last minute decision to seek the sunset. We piled into a small car and raced along those windy mountain roads shown in the images below, arriving at the summit just in time to watch those alpine skies turn pink. We basked in the sun's final warm glow, making quiet wishes before it sank happily below the mountains. It was a game-changer.
Little One and I often talk about the dangers and challenges of being complex creatures. We both like to live big, chasing dreams, making plans, facing fears, dismantling ourselves to look at our shortcomings squarely in the face, and putting ourselves back together again in roughly the same way as before.
It's a hard road. Being brutally honest, taking the longer route, confronting our less appealing traits and then accepting them, living with them. It's not for everyone. But that's the road I've chosen.
It's actually really hard. Not many people fully understand it.
I've found that while I'm still walking it in thin socks and until I build stronger soles I am tested more than I would like to be. And it's these moments - the sunsets, the long walks, the waterdives, the deep breaths - that keep us true to ourselves. They go a long way to keeping me true to myself.
To be somewhat melodramatic, I came back to life up on those mountains. Each day, month, year of taking the hard road brings me back to life a little bit more. Standing on that mountain, watching that sunset, brought it all home.
The next morning we awoke in the early hours, each of us yawning but not daring to complain. We were all more excited to complete the circle we'd inadvertently started the prior evening. As we stood, mostly in a line, with Little One crouched on a rock down below, we gasped as the orange sun spread over the horizon.
It's there, it's always been there. You just have to go and find it. You have to want to find it.
Until next year, dear summit.