Claire didn’t see it, but when I got to the edge and there was no mountain left to climb and I could see the whole world in front of me, tears were unexpectedly filling up my eyes. Coming over the last switchback and up and over the last tree, the wind hit me in the face and blew my hair all around and there I was above it all with the warm sun and the cold wind and the limitless view of the earth.
For a second, I could see my whole life in these small consecutive bits and pieces up to that point and I stood there, mainly grateful, and partially in awe at the small power within me that was enough to bring me there that day – not just up the mountain, but to the present point in my curious little life.
I stood there with Claire and was biting my lip trying to stop crying as she was taking pictures of me. The whole way, I’d definitely been the slow one coming up the vertical switchbacks with my small shin injury.
She stood there at the top of each section saying “You got it, you got it, you’re fine.” And I’d say “I know, you don’t have to do that.” And I’d laugh because that’s what she’s always done for 30 years straight. “You got it, Emily. You’re fine!”
It was silent and not another person was in sight.
I’m not sure why it was at this point of the trip that everything got to me, but it did. There were four steps left…three…two…one – and the wind picked up and all at once miles and miles of the most glorious earth came into view just as the sun broke out from the clouds it stopped me from breathing for a second. I said out loud “Oh my god, I’m here. It’s me. It’s me and I’ve made it.”
I thought of the years of my life. Five. Seventeen. Twenty-nine.
Turning thirty had kind of made me nervous at first but standing there with prehistoric seabed turned mountain ranges and ancient glaciers and 200 year old cottonwoods and pines made me feel small and so brand new to the world.
For a while everything was still.
I was still…and wild and young. I sensed the shortness of life and how fast it goes by in this world. I thought about the time I’d spent out in it and the life I’ve made for myself. I felt the cadence of my rested and clear conscience.
Right there I knew, that all my efforts were my own. All of my limits were still unknown. I felt my heart; that same heart that I’ve always had with the most quiet golden sound that always rings so true and clear, beating like it was welcoming me to that place as though it had been there before.
I stood there steady and straight and I knew I’d won over everything that ever came my way. I felt like I had the sun in my DNA because I’ve risen with the mornings after the darkest nights and from the wildest dreams.
The gleaming rays of light rested on me like they knew me and I felt in my soul the arrival of what to me is the most elusive of feelings: Home.
I felt like I was facing myself and experiencing my experiences and recognizing young dreams and long passed memories and their changes over the years, like they were old friends.
I saw endless valley and sparkling water and clouds at my fingertips and the ranges stretching on beyond us. I saw myself as I was and I was deeply content with it. I saw the years go by like photographs in my mind and I felt everything.
I thought of me. I thought of Claire. I thought of all we had been through together in 30 years that no one else will ever know.
A part of me recognized something about the wild there in a way I really didn’t expect. I felt blessed by the universe to be there with Claire. Something about the climbing and effort felt familiar and I realized that in a way, it was not a new experience for us, even though we were seeing everything there for the first time. It had a way of resembling life.
Through the rocks and sliding avalanche areas, over the thick mud and sideways pouring rain, in the cold and damp and unmarked trails, against advice and through the nights – we made it. Feeling small and powerless and finding out we were stronger than we knew and could do anything we wanted – we made it. When people doubted us or criticized us or tried to hold us back and keep us down – we made it. And we were standing there together.
It was here after a very long time of tirelessly blazing on that we rested and realized just how far we had actually come. I took a deep breath and stood there for a long time.
I noticed Claire next to me after a while. I put my arm around her. We don’t normally hug or anything. I said “Hey we did it.” And she kind of looked at me and saw my face and looked away and said “Ya. We did it. We made it.” She smiled. We were quiet.
And I had a feeling that neither of us were really talking about the mountain climb.
-Written after a month long trip celebrating my 30th birthday with my twin Claire who is my divine strength and forever friend. Happy Birthday to us; here’s to more. xo
Reposted by Dan Getz/DANCE4ONE on