Wednesday pondering – on paths

Several days ago, being away from home, I happened to pass by some mountains that looked absolutely stunning, and I found myself thinking “these are so beautiful, I hope one day I’ll have the chance to know their beauty from a closer distance”. Then I remembered how, years ago, something similar happened.

I was with my husband (back then only boyfriend) in Busteni, in my country, and I was fascinated with the mountains behind the hotel in which we were staying, so one evening, knowing I was free the next day, he said “well, tomorrow is a beautiful day, we can go hiking a little on them”. I was thrilled and could barely wait, and when we began our walk it was such a beautiful morning that the mountains looked simply breathtaking. And you must also think about the fact that the beauty of something, as seen from a distance, is nothing compared to its beauty when you’re actually there, near it. It’s different because you don’t look at “the big picture” anymore, but at the small details, that are often even more impressive as the initial image was.

To cut a long story short, I had no idea that the route on which me and my husband were climbing was (and I think it still is) one of the most difficult routes in Romania, known as “Jepii Mici” (you can see some images of that route, though not taken by me, at http://magiamuntelui.blogspot.ro/2008/11/traseu-jepii-mici-bucegi_8382.html). Therefore, half way through I was already exhausted, and what was even worse, it began to rain and the path became slippery. It was already too late to go down, so we had to keep going up, relying sometimes on the chains and cables set up by the local alpinists, other times only on each other (make that me relying on my husband, because he appeared to have absolutely no problem at all – and I have to also make a note here that I’ve never seen him calmer and more patient until or since that moment).

But because it had all become so difficult, I failed to see the beauty of things anymore. I hated everything, and I was often under the impression that it was a never-ending hell and that I would eventually go insane. It was only a matter of several hours, but I was literally crashing within me. When we finally reached the hut at Babele we had some hot tea, made there, which barely had any taste at all, but back then it felt like the most delicious thing I had drunk in my entire life. We rested there for a while and then we decided to return, but because it had rained we had to go down by cable car, and at some point my husband grabbed my hand and pointed down, saying “look, you can see the route on which we came up”. And I kept looking, nodding my head in utter disbelief that I had actually been able to walk on what, from that distance, looked like a beautiful though impossible mountain path.

The point of me telling you all the above, is that we often choose to walk on paths that may look beautiful from afar, without knowing what lies ahead. And while doing that, we find that the initial beauty makes space to what could seem like hell to us. Then it’s up to us to resist on our own, or to the ones accompanying us to have faith in us and patience to help us through. But even if the road is broken, you must know that the beauty that you saw at first is still there, even if it appears to have vanished. Remember that paths are meant to be walked and beauty has to be felt, not just admired from a distance. And if a lousy cup of tea can taste as heavenly as mine did after only a couple of hours of difficulties, just imagine how good it can feel to find out that you were stronger than you would have ever imagined :).

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© 2014 Liliana Negoi

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The text is mine, the image is a photo of the Kolešino waterfall, in Macedonia, taken by my friend, Raluca, some days ago when we were on the mountains that I mentioned in the beginning of the text :).

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