Monday, November 18, 2013

The Ascent and Descent

“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” ― Ed ViestursNo Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks

While on a family trip this weekend, Maeve climbed her first boulder.  This is a thing in Colorado.  And while for her, the ascent and descent were equally facilitated by adults, her older cousin came down nearly on his own, with just some adult spotting, and he commented that the descent is always harder than the ascent.  The thrill of being on top of the boulder and seeing for miles is almost overwhelming, but coming down can be so hard, you wonder why you came up in the first place.

It was a good metaphor for the difficult road trip we took to get there.  The trip up was uneventful; Maeve was well-behaved, she kept busy and played nicely.  She didn't get any rest, as I had been hoping, but she had a lot of fun, and went to bed upon arrival at our four-hours-away destination.  

The next day was the top of the boulder: a fun family hike, a great early Thanksgiving meal, lots of playing with her cousin, lots of joy, all around.  We felt elated that we had made the commitment to come, despite our misgivings about the long trip and wreaking havoc on Maeve's routines.

Then, that afternoon, we descended the boulder and it was rough.  Maeve was not so game for a crazy-long trip in the RV, which turned out to take us five hours, all told, because of stops on the way.  She had several breakdowns just because of sheer tiredness and fundamentally not wanting to be in her carseat anymore.  One particularly spectacular meltdown had almost the whole family leave the vehicle while she screamed at the top of her lungs and cried hysterically.  Forget difficult, that was my idea of hell.

However, on the other side of it, I'm still glad we climbed the boulder of taking this trip, no matter how difficult the descent.  Because, unlike the boulder, the family we visited this weekend is not a permanent fixture, and we may not get the chance to be with all of that very special group again.  

But pardon me while I collapse from exhaustion.  Bouldering is a lot of work.

By the way, no filter on this picture.  The sky really was that blue.

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