“No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one’s existence–that which makes its truth, its meaning–its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream–alone.” 
― Joseph ConradHeart of Darkness

Raise me up in the pre-dawn light- I tremble at the day before me- so much asked of, so much taken. But I go- eastward, to the call of duty- and friendship to reacquaint. Thrills of expectation for what is to come.

IMG_2174 IMG_2177 IMG_2178The daylight paints vistas, striking to the heart of this woman- tasks at hand, though fingers cold, warmth of playful banter warm me. Then rush, demand- a skilled juggler am I. They come and I smile. I know what awaits them for I have seen it, felt it- at least in part. IMG_2182

With travail goes time- crashing past like countless waves- they ride and turn, flying flying like so many birds, discovering how fast their wings can take them. Course and course, the lifeblood, a mimic of the circulation, in the vineyard. Time pulsing on.

Voices and camaraderie. This heart filled with pride. I’m getting to know them now- my conversion nearly complete. Fear has been abandoned, and friendships bonded. Gratitude inexpressible. IMG_2187 IMG_2188 IMG_2196 IMG_2197

More (and far better) pictures here: Matt Janson Photography

Drinks, dinner, awards, we laugh and cheer- then decision is made, to traverse to the summit, feeling nearby, we seek to partake.

My daughter, my companion- we climb- wild hearts defending us from the cold. Climbing above the populous- a late start, with sunset wreaking havoc on the storm clouds surrounding, enclosing us in. The pressure of darkness is the weight I carry, far greater than the pack of supplies strapped to my shoulders. IMG_2198 IMG_2199 IMG_2201 IMG_2202 IMG_2205 IMG_2210 IMG_2230

My girl, my pride- she does not falter, though strenuous the travail. Though I warn the lengthening of the hours, she demands the satisfaction of the summit.

Clouds turn to darkness, and darkness joins with snow. We scramble, hands and feet grasping for purchase to lift us up, up- the work now mingled with worry- as only a mother who is risking her child can feel.

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But perhaps my eldest has a spark in her, a reflection perhaps, of me. She does not falter. She does not fear. She is driven for the summit, and will only turn back once it is reached. The power of her spirit astounds me- her creator, nurturer, mother, and friend.

We reach the goal and retreat through the storm, the trail obscured now in the blanket of white. She laughs at me, my dark tresses endowed now with pure white.

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Though our eyes still seek the trail before us, darkness threatens in earnest now- and worry abounds my heart. But my brave girl never falters- “Have hope” she cries. Hope has never been my companion. Work is my friend- I trust my skill for endurance. I trust my memory to know the way.

Soon, light is required for safe descending. Snow remains behind us, and the lower trail has been moistened- slicking the rocks and tacky the mud. The light only projecting from my phone, we carefully clamber in tandem. Until the device battery is exhausted. We scramble by the light of the stars, and the last glow of the day.

Of what do we speak? I, the storyteller, recount for her the story of her own birth, that of her brothers, and of the times I have screamed out in pain (a mere trio). Her clever and concerned responses just deepen my affection for this girl. Can one burst from pride?

Hours of careful purchase on rock and dirt, we finally achieve the trailhead. Overjoyed, we drive for our now-typical post-trail treat: hot cocoas and lots of hugs.