I decided to climb a mountain because it’s been on my list of things to do for years. And I love crossing things off a list. I’ve been known to ADD things (already done) to a list, only so I could take the immense pleasure in crossing them off. Something about making those strike-throughs is SO gratifying. I realize that’s wacked, and wackier still is publicly admitting such.
That doesn’t really answer why I did it, does it? I did it, because I could. Flippant. Okay, here’s another try: I did it because I could and another in my life, a beloved other, can’t. Truth.
My sister has Multiple Sclerosis. Before the disease, SHE was the adventurous one. Climbing trees and riding a bike around cow paddies and over dirt roads like a mad woman, she was one fearless child. She’s my inspiration in life. Her spirit and passion and resolve are lava-like – hot enough to have frightened the disease into not having stripped away all her physical capabilities.
The disease is afraid of her. That’s not to say it hasn’t won in some regards. SHE can’t climb a mountain. SHE can’t hike into the backcountry. She can’t take an Animal Tracking course or ride a bike. Some days she can’t climb 2 stairs. And some days, she struggles to get from her bedroom to the living room.
It seems only right that because I can and she cannot, I should. So I do. And she’s right beside me every grueling step of these hare-brained, a bit out there escapades I relish. When I feel myself getting lazy and making excuses for not having done anything physically challenging in a while, I sense her kicking me in the pants. She’s my mental barometer against too many bon bons and a soft city life; against taking my health for granted.
My hope is that at the end, my physical exploits will have been enough for TWO healthy, adventurous explorers whose good health wasn’t squandered on cushy hotel rooms and pointless shopping trips.
I climbed a mountain because it is my job to make up for the strike-throughs in her life not made by her own hand. Damn them all.