At best, I’m reluctant to post a blog based on the title of a song from “The Sound of Music,” but when life gives you lemons…
Today we climbed Table Mountain. As far as I know it hasn’t made the cut as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but whoever decides those kinds of things should get this beauty on the list pronto. After many days of rain and planning schedules, we decided it was time to take advantage of the sunshine and celebrate Nelson Mandela’s birthday with good, old-fashioned Mother Nature.
Because some members of our group had climbed a few days earlier, they were set on improving on the time it took them to reach the summit. It was hard not to stop as we climbed, however, because a) climbing a mountain is tiring and b) each time we turned around, the scenery was more gorgeous than before. We each took countless photos but agreed that they couldn’t quite capture what we were seeing for ourselves.
It’s funny what a hike like that can do for your perspective. As I climbed higher and higher on the stony path, occasionally washing my face in spring water or stopping to catch the view from a patch of grass on a rock, all of the little things that had been bothering me throughout the week or even that morning seemed to drift away. All that seemed to matter in our lives during the few hours we spent at the top of the mountain was that we were there.
We enjoyed the breathtaking view of Cape Town for awhile, but it was eventually time to make the climb back down, which was surprisingly more difficult than the climb up. We played the Alphabet Movie Game (Theresa and I: 6, Ryan and Cate: 1) and then took a cab to the beach to grab a bite and watch the sunset. It seemed an appropriate way to end the day.
The group decided we should climb Table Mountain regularly, especially when we are feeling burdened or stressed by whatever else is going on in our lives. Climbing had apparently been as therapeutic for everyone else as it had been for me.
But it makes sense. I’m glad we had a chance to take in that beautiful view of Cape Town, to look out over all of the city’s buildings, the Atlantic Ocean and the rest of the mountain. It was important that we took that moment to rest and appreciate how far we’d come. In the coming months, we will have a lot of mountains–proverbial and real–to climb: at our service sites, at school, in the countless other ways we’ll learn and grow, and as we explore Table Mountain’s other trails.
Nelson Mandela once said, “I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment…” Like today, we’ll continue to have those moments where we need to stop and take in what we’ve done and all that surrounds us. And then we’ll keep climbing.