The Climb

Yesterday on the last day of the year I climbed a mountain. The first one I've climbed since my visit to Nepal some 20 years ago.
The Climb
We have spent the holidays in the Basque Country, in Spain, and a couple of days ago we met up with an old dear friend who told us of this tradition the folks of Bilbao and surroundings have, one where they on the last day of the year, climb the Gorbeia mountain. It felt like the absolutely perfect symbol to end this which has in many respects been one of the most shitty years to date. To conclude it in reflection and see the world from a more panoramic perspective, look down upon all those worries and negative thoughts that has dominated my 2016 from above the clouds sounded good. Very good.
We decided to do it, despite back injuries belly pains and other various signs of aging that has started appearing as small but nagging symptoms in the body. It seemed important that we prove to ourselves that we had enough 'mind over matter' power to take on this small but for us, for the time we find ourselves in, significant challenge.
Before sunup we set out on our climb, in clothes from my mother in law and shoes from my sister in law we walked in silence to over 1000 meters above the Atlantic sea that is normally our refuge, beyond the first cluster of clouds and high above our own preoccupations...

It was just what the doctor ordered. Something about sitting on top of that mountain ridge that just makes everything shrink to proportion, even your worries, fears and problems. I came down feeling a lot lighter even though my feet today are full of blisters and my legs aching from the effort.
What is it they say...? In order to feel something different you gotta do something different...

I suppose when I in a few years look back upon 2016 it has the potential of being that year that brought about transformation through hardship, it could also be described as the year when I finally grew up (although the jury is as always and as it should be, doubtful and still very much out on that one), or maybe it will in a year or two only remain as one of these memories that stands out as a humorous anecdote of the year when the shit hit the fan continuously, on repeat and in various ways and manners, but one thing is for sure, it will not be a year I will easily forget.
I know I am not alone in feeling this way, I think many of us have gotten a bit bruised by the realities we have witnessed these last 12 months, I mean, after all this was the year when Donald Trump became President. Just that. What the fuck...?

It will also go down in our collective memory bank as the year when fear seemed to prevail in Europe, an extreme right wave once again hitting the continent, although this time it found its way into the households of our neighbors friends and family and also crept closer to the serious political arena, a year when repeated deeds of terror struck fear into us all by being so uncomfortably close to our comfortable existence. It was the year when the U.K. demanded a divorce, a year when Prince, Ziggy, Mr Cohen and Sir Wham, to name a few, sang their last good byes and by doing so left us all contemplating our own mortality. A year when the ice kept melting with a speed that almost feels apocalyptic...

I'm not a pessimist per se, I'm a reasonable optimist but, most likely because of my own struggles last year, I very often thought that 2016 could go down in history as a kind of "beginning of the end" kind of year for us humans (The Trump and his insecurities in charge of nuclear arms and handling climate change...) but the yogi who shares the space with my inner pessimist's and claims that All is well, usually reminds me that fleeting is the nature of all phenomena... and yesterday at the top of the mountain they managed to completely get along and for a moment there was just silence and I felt at peace with life for the first time in a long year.
Perhaps it was because I was seeing a more gentle side of life, nature in all it's splendor, instead of the complicated intricate and easily confusing world of humans. Whatever the reason I had a peaceful yet invigorating end of this tumultuous year and as I open the book on 2017, I feel lighter at heart than I've done in a long time.

I hope it will be an easier year, but I'm not counting on it.
The climb yesterday was important as I did rediscover a glimpse of a resilient inner strength I thought 2016 had wiped away, so as I'm slowly waking up to this new year it's with an unusually calm confident feeling, I know that whatever comes I can handle it.

So welcome 2017, I have been waiting for you and this New Years passing I only have one wish: Please be kind.


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