I was touched by this piece by a friend and colleague, Julia Menard.  I forward it here in the hopes that you will enjoy it as well.  Perhaps it will put you in touch with a time your breath was taken away.   As you reflect on this memorable moment in your life, take a deep breath, and see how it looks from this vantage point…  Perhaps you’ll find new meaning, metaphors, insights.  
Climbing is the lazy man’s way to enlightenment. It forces you to pay attention, because if you don’t, you won’t succeed, which is minor — or you may get hurt, which is major. Instead of years of meditation, you have this activity that forces you to relax and monitor your breathing and tread that line between living and dying. When you climb, you always are confronted with the edge.”

  …  Duncan Ferguson

Last full moon, I was in the Yukon for work. When there, I had the tremendous opportunity of going to Kluane National Park and climbing one of its mountains. Kluane is a World Heritage site, a top wilderness adventure destination, and most of its landscape is mountains and glaciers.

The quote above describes perfectly what happened for me there. For that one glorious day, I needed to pay exquisitely close attention in a way that is very rarely demanded of us in ordinary daily life. If I didn’t pay attention, I could have fallen down the side of a mountain (okay – my more experienced hiking friend didn’t experience it as that dangerous – but I’m talking my reality here!).

It was one of the edges I confronted that day.

When we finally got to our destination – it was not the top of a mountain but a plateau high up. By that time, I had made it through my wall – several, in fact. And, it didn’t matter that it wasn’t “the mountain top.” It was exactly where I was supposed to be.

I found heaven waiting beyond.

It might have been the hours of hiking, the altitude, or the high of the many challenges overcome, but as I stood there surveying the vast, glaciered landscape, I was utterly humbled.

It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen or experienced.

As I stood there, I wanted to remember that moment forever as I became one with that place, that experience, that moment. It was breathtaking.

I owe a debt of gratitude to my hiking partner, who encouraged me; the mountain, who knows what is below; and you dear reader, who gives me a reason to write.

Have you had times and places in nature like that? If it hasn’t been lately, it’s time… Nature calls!

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity.”    … John Muir

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