Where have you been? Where are you going? And why?
I climbed Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, and I wrote a couple thoughts down as I hiked. I share them with a disclaimer: I participate here in the age-old writer’s tradition of comparing a mountain to life’s journey. The pile of rough drafts from writers who’ve used such a metaphor could likely form its own mountain. You can throw these blogs on top.
Someone farted and nobody laughed…(Pondering #3)
There are five stages on the Lion’s Head Trail up Mt. Washington. The first consists of rocks, dirt, and more rocks at a steady incline with trees blocking any clues to the outside world. Phase two begins two miles up as you take a right into the thicket. On this path you must crawl up huge boulders and jump up and off giant logs all the while enclosed in a tunnel of trees. Phrase three invites you above the tree line with the reward of incredible views and boulders that could measure me as their diameter. Stage four intersperses a narrow trail through evergreens that scratch your face if you lean too far left or right. Save the best for last, right? The last portion of the hike reminds me of Frodo’s climb up Mt. Doom. It’s as if God broke up a continental sized slab and dumped the jagged pieces onto a pile. From the base of stage five, you have approximately forty-five minutes of sheer determination.
We entered into the final ascent at stage five. Fellow hikers passed by headed up and down. And then someone farted. Loud. I pictured a classroom of boys falling out of their chairs in laughter and girls with bright red faces. Except no one around us laughed; no one cared and everyone understood. I marveled for a moment. The exhaustion of the climb rendered the shame and humor that normally accompanies an inadvertent butt-whistle as insignificant. The bigger the story that we live in, the more trivial things become.