My husband is in touch with his inner mountain goat. He so much as glances at a mountain and he is simply not happy until he’s climbed the silly thing. How dare it exist if not to serve as a jungle gym for him? It’s probably a very good thing that the Army won’t station us in Nepal because I live in fear he’ll attempt Mt. Everest and if we were living in its shadow — there would be no stopping him.
When Josh takes the camera, I can’t help but feel a bit anxious. What mountain peak will it summit next? These photos were taken on Mt. Rainier while we were stationed at Ft. Lewis, Washington. The night before the trip, Joshua turned to his buddy and said, “You want to climb to base camp with tomorrow morning?” The friend said yes without really thinking. Within just a few hours of that conversation, the friend found himself in the seat of Josh’s truck barreling toward Mt. Rainier with crampons on the floorboards. My husband, Joshua, is a man of his word.
Admittedly, things have not always been easy for us. We’ve struggled from the very beginning because of fertility issues, lack of family support, deployments, loss of loved ones, and financial worries. Somehow, we’ve managed to survive and I think a huge part of it has to do with Josh’s never-say-die attitude. He’s carried us both through so much pain and heartache with his drive to succeed in life.
I suppose all we really have in this life are mountains to climb and perspective to gain. I like this quote:
So, if you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for. George Leigh Mallory, 1922
When I look at the pictures Josh has taken of his climbing adventures, I see the relaxed and satisfied expression on his face as he peers into the camera with the distant peaks of other ranges behind him and I admire him that much more. He’s a man who is unafraid to face challenges or to be aware of his own inconsequentiality and mortality. He’s not afraid to live fully and outwardly.
The picture of Mt. St. Helen (above) sort of sums up the reasoning behind such wild and seemingly insane adventures. Josh took the picture from Mt. Rainier after a day’s climb and had no idea if it would turn out. He hoped it would capture a particularly incredible moment in which the clouds parted and the volcano appeared. I think he was truly blessed that day.
Without risk, there are no rewards. This lesson has been particularly pertinent of late. We took such a risk with the kids and while it hasn’t worked out as we’d hoped, our struggle has not been in vain. The adoption path is still before us and journey is far from over. We are certain that children are in our future and that one day we will be atop our mountain and the clouds will shift to afford us a magnificent view. If that’s not simple living, then I am apparently lost on the concept.