With tears cascading down my already salty face, I approached the summit of Imogene Pass - tears of grief for the losses mingled with tears of joy for the rising.
The significance of it being a point-to-point race was not lost on me - not only would I finish in a different town (Telluride) than I started (Ouray), I would be a different person as I arrived - lighter, freer, and more hopeful. It also just so happens that Telluride is higher in elevation than Ouray - a metaphor for my year, starting in the deepest of valleys, rising to the mountaintop for perspective, and traveling down that mountain, back into a valley, but a different one, a higher one, countless feet above despair, measuring high in hope.
Anticipating the 5,000 foot climb ahead of me, I toed the start line with a “fear in my body and a fire in my heart,” to borrow words from the Dirty Guv’nahs.
The miles and miles of training - climbing mountains up out of the dark into the light, pounding out my grief, one step at a time - culminated in this one moment.
The volume on my fight song was cranked up as loud as it could go. Hope had risen up and now I would too.
September 12, 2015 - I ran this race on what would’ve marked 37 weeks pregnant, or full term, had I not miscarried. Not only had my training, my journey to the start line, been a reclaiming of myself, but now I would reclaim the date as well.
Regardless of what would come next in my life, I knew the healing had come.
I never could’ve predicted that September 12, 2016, one year later, would be my exact due date for my beautiful baby girl.
And just 3 days from now, that little joy-maker will turn two.
3 years have passed since I climbed up out of that one mountain town and flew down to the finish line in the other. And wow, how much life has changed, in ways I never could’ve imagined.
Like a foliage-filled mountain trail winding through the woods, it’s true, we never really do know what’s around the next bend in our lives.
We just keep moving, one step at a time, sometimes flying with a rhythm so fast and fluid, and other times crawling - crying and clinging to the little bit of hope that we still have.
We keep going, following the trail set before us, and trusting even in the hardest of places, that we will be led around bends into new seasons where the foreboding clouds will finally lift, exposing positively unimaginable vistas; into new places, and on to new heights.
What’s your mountain?