Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hemlock Valley - Don't Follow Me... I'm not Jesus

To My Beauties,

I write this for you... my memories, my thoughts... just for you. As you and I get older, it seems the less time we spend together; which is normal, friends and activities are more important than hanging out with the folks, but lately, questions, I can't answer have plagued me and I end up wondering, " Have I taught them everything they should know? Have I equipped them to show courage and strength in this unforgiving world? Will they remember their manners when they go for a job interview? Will they  have compassion and a giving heart for those in need? Did your father and I do a good job in raising you? I know we've made mistakes, every parent has, but are you ready to go out into this world?
These questions and more I ask myself constantly. So my dears, this blog is for you. Memories of the adventures we share together, and all the other little insights and things I may have forgotten to teach you along the way.

Hemlock Valley - Don't Follow Me... I'm Not Jesus
Climbing the Ridge and Taking a Risk

Christmas 2011 was plagued by sickness. Started with the dog Christmas Eve and ended with Alora throwing up around New Years. Strep throat, stomach flu and whatever the dog had Christmas Eve (she was walking around drunk with a irregular heart beat). Needless to say, this holiday time off was not what we expected. We were supposed to go to Powell River for a 5 day New Years adventure with Nadyne and Joe, instead we had a 1 day Hemlock Valley unexpected risky trek.
"A warm drink in my hands, safely back to the car, beautiful mountain views, nobody dead, and the dog seems okay after that exhausting hike. Now give your mother a kick in the pants for making us climb up that mountain ridge," Rene said after our little trek.
Girls, you may even have heard him relay the biased one-sided details to your Uncle Kirk and Kevin last night at Nana's Party.
"She made us follow her," he told them, "no song or dance just a sweet and innocent 'follow me' and she lead us straight up the side of a massive mountain" he accused.
Before I go on, let me say something in my defense. Firstly, nobody made anyone do anything. Even Adam could have said NO to the tempting fruit, it wasn't Eve's fault that he took it and ate it. Yet for thousands of years Eve has been blamed for the fall of man (a woman doesn't have to be blamed for the fall of a man.... they do that quite nicely on their own thank-you very much... then again we could have been a little smarter?).
Secondly, I thought a walk might be more safe than picking at rocks in an avalanche area. There you were, the three of you, throwing boulders at a rocky overhang. Standing there, out of harms way, I could spot sudden rushes of small pebbly rocks periodically sliding by you. Then my imagination took hold and I pictured the huge mass of rock and shale falling on top, suffocating you. Instead of panic, I chose to aim your attention on a safer activity. Little did I know it wasn't much safer.
Thirdly, sitting inside for the past few weeks with an assortment of different bacteria pushing their way into our household, had left me feeling house bound, and a little cabin feverish. You know what song has been going on over and over again in my mind this past week?
"I want adventure in the great wide somewhere... I want it more than I can tell." sung by Bell in Beauty and the Beast. That's where my heart has been. I have missed our adventures. Life has been too busy, each one of us focused on our own separate adventures (school, work, horseback riding, swimming and volunteer work and then sickness). I have felt out of touch with you guys.
"This life should be our adventure together, not separate." this was my wish as I headed up the seemingly harmless path.
"If we head up this way we'll reach the ski slope and we can toboggan down it." Little did I know the ski slope was behind a straight vertical up hill climb that involved snow as deep as your waist and us lumbering with a sled and no snow shoes.
"This wasn't what I signed up for." Your father huffed at me, digging in the snow jet toboggan horizontally in front of him, giving him a hold to climb a few more steps. Yes, it was hard work, but I could see a twinkle in his blues eyes. Deep down he was enjoying this, I could tell. I was slowing down, but his pace quickened, so I moved out of the way and let him go ahead of me to break the path. Well girls, you followed him quickly and soon I found myself eating your dust, or rather in this case snow.
There I was, all alone, at a 45 degree angle on the side of a mountain, stuck to my hips in deep snow with a rocky canyon below me and a challenging climb above me. In true pacifist action I sat down as best as I could; with my left leg still dangling in a hole, I ate some snow and gave up defeated.
"How could they leave me?" I whined to myself, because... well... no one else was there. I found myself stuck between a rock and a hard place, literally with no one to help me out. I looked down at the rocky canyon below me and felt a moment of panic. It was at this low point when I remembered who was still with me, who in fact had never left my side nor will ever leave me.
"Okay... okay...this was a bad idea Lord. I'm so stupid. I hope my family forgives me. My chest hurts, my muscles ache, and physically I just don't feel like I can go on. Please give me the strength to climb the rest of the way up." I prayed, then I looked up and the view was amazing.
All this time climbing I was so focused on the hard climb above me and the steepness of what I had climbed below me, that I forgot to look up and see the view. It was a hard and tired journey, much like life.
I pictured life as a mountain that each of us must climb and I realized when we focus on how hard it is and continually ask, 'how much further do we need to climb? We concentrate on how steep and scary life is and let fear and resentments take hold. This attitude is enough to make us fall and or give up.
Some people fall and roll back down into the canyon and hurt themselves badly in the process. Some people fall down but sit where they are and give up, never getting back up again. Some people fall, take a rest, eat some snow and keep climbing. It was at this point, filled with determination to never ever find myself in the first two categories of people, that I turned myself around, pulled my leg out of the hole and climbed.
"Thank-you for the beauty,
Thank-you for my life,
Thank-you that I may take part in this adventure." I repeated over and over again as a mantra until I reached the top.
"We waited for you Mom." There you stood Kalina, your smile and rosy cheeks warmed my heart as I flopped down beside you guys.
"What took you so long?"Your father asked me.
"Stopped to look at the view," I felt a small stirring of irritation, a grumble awoke.
"Do you realize that every step I took in your tracks made me sink hip deep? Do you know how much effort it took to pull my legs out of a hole that big? Every second @#$&%#@ step... I sank into a hole!"
"Why did you follow my steps then?" he smiled, "I'm not Jesus."

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