You wouldn’t be wasting your time to throw a dart at a US map and go to the closest National Park. And when you’re there, you’d be forgiven if you just drove around in your car, admiring the enormity of it all.
But do that for any length of time and you’ll grow restless. You might start looking for other ways to commune with nature. Like most of us, your eyes will probably look to the mountain and start to climb.
Looking at the walls of granite…you’ll be transfixed. And when something finally does come along to break your stare, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a dozen other admirers. I think it’s because there’s something very human about the act of exploration. Of all our back-and-forth, the world holds its collective breath when we set about seeing something new. A climb gives us a bit of that, even if the only new discovery is a braver version of ourselves.
Before fatherhood, I thought this discovery was the exclusive purview of college-aged men. Blustering, fool-hearty, and somehow wholesome; young men were “supposed” to head into the wilderness and “conquer” mountain peaks right up until their wisdom caught up with their energies. But as it turns out, the same can be said of my two, three, and six year-old daughters. The same can be said of their mom.
From the super-human exploits of Alex Honnold, to your toddler’s first wobbly boulder, the mountain is not just for hippies and self-proclaimed dirtbags anymore. If ever it was…
To climb doesn’t require a special skill, other than perhaps a willingness to overcome a bit of fear and a genuine appreciation for new perspective.