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A Metaphor from Grizzly Peak

It has been two years since my brother Josh and I decided to attempt climbing a couple 13ers (13,000ft mountains) in the Colorado Sawatch Range. I can remember how excited I was about hiking with my brother since it had been over a year since the last time we had summited any mountain together.

We both understood that although November in Colorado means fall at lower elevations, November above the timberline means winter and wind. Having spent years climbing the many Rocky Mountain peaks throughout the state, we were prepared for all conditions. After a four-mile journey through rough, four-wheel-drive terrain, we reached the trailhead under the beautiful predawn light.

As we were putting on our gear for the hike snow began to fall around us. Josh and I reflected about how these conditions would have turned us around back in our novice days of climbing, but being the seasoned climbers we had become, we no longer feared this type of weather. Weather today presents an exciting challenge to be embraced and overcome.

One of the many perks of hiking in the Rockies are the amazing views. After we began hiking, the snow gave way to an amazing stream of cloud layers so full of beauty, that, it is difficult to describe without seeing for yourself.

After a few hours of climbing through the rapidly moving and ever-changing cloud shapes, we reached the summit and sat for a quick, cold snack. Soon after summiting the mountain, the clouds completely cleared, leaving Josh and I basking in the sun.

Here comes the metaphor…. While basking on the summit I noticed the next wall of clouds rushing toward us in the forty mile per hour winds. As the new wall of clouds approached, I noticed my body tensing and a sense of panic washed over me as it seemed like these clouds possessed the potential for sweeping us right off the top of Grizzly Peak. As the bank of clouds rushed toward us my instinct was to brace myself, thinking the clouds had the physical ability to knock me down.

The clouds quickly surrounded us and the sky darkened, but our feet were still touching the ground.

Today, contemplating my mood as we sat among the clouds, I reflect upon how those racing clouds remind me a lot of the intense emotions I have been facing recently. I sense the emotions coming and, even though I believe myself to be both seasoned and grounded in life, these emotions seem equally ominous and onerous as the emotions I experienced with the clouds racing toward my brother and I. Then, just as these emotions seem like they are going to knock me over, I realize my feet are still touching the ground. These ominous emotions may obscure the light somewhat, but they pass through.

Sitting on the top of that mountain the clouds moved over our heads as quickly as they arrived and we were left basking in the sun again. Emotions, like those fleeting clouds, are not permanent. They come. They go. Embrace them, the light will soon follow.