Friday, March 30, 2012

Climbing a Hill Together

On the top of Mt. Galiano, Galiano Island, B.C.
I've always yearned to live in community, to do the hard work of learning to love another person, stinky feet, messy house and all. Originally, the plan was for some sort of compound where others with similar ideals (like-minded, but not too like) would co-exists in perfect balance. After I got married, it still seemed possible. If everyone was as conflict-averse as we were it would work out just fine.
But then the girls came along. Two more people did not double the interactions; community is an exponential experience. Now I am content to work for kindness in a smaller community.
We were making hearts with our shadows, see?

It had been cold down on the water but as we got away from the edge, the sun quickly drove us to shed what layers we could. We stashed our coats behind a tree and made a blaze in the path so we could find them later. About halfway up the mountain we realized we hadn't brought nearly enough water but we rationed carefully and made it to the top in good spirits. The view was spectacular, looking out over the islands, a life-sized relief map of the navigational charts I had studied on the trip up. I could see the current flowing through the tight passes, the power all the stronger for the nearness.
The girls ran ahead on the way down, scaring us a little. We took separate trails to the bottom to make sure we didn't miss them but they had found the right path. "Just running a marathon," they said. The walk back down--that's the thing about climbing a mountain on an island, you have to start at sea level--was long and hot, but ended with ice cream and a cheerful row back to the boat. Any way you measure it, that was the highest point on our journey, so the next morning we turned south and began the work of returning, the power between us all the stronger for the nearness.