(For the past five years, I’ve used Reverb10 prompts to give myself a question to answer every day of December. It’s a great way to reflect on the year and set goals for the future. For 2015 I combined my love of tarot with the Reverb questions, matching my favorite questions to the 22 Major Arcana cards in the deck.)
STRENGTH. What was the bravest thing you did in this year?
I got about 42 miles and 10,000 feet of elevation out of my comfort zone this past year in Yosemite at the High Sierra Camps. They are camps that were selected for their natural beauty that can only be reached on foot. It’s glamping to be sure, but if you want a bed for the night and a hot meal and more water, you need to hike up to it.
If you had told me even two years ago that I’d do something like this, I’d have laughed. Hard. I would have reminded you that I am not an outdoor girl. I demand a flush toilet and a shower, thank you very much. That I have health issues and an old injury and all kinds of reasons why this would be the last place I’d ever vacation.
But my husband. Oh dear. Sometimes I think he was put in my life to drag me out of my comfort zone on a regular basis. He went on this same trip two years ago with his buddies from school and could not stop talking about it. How beautiful it was. How quiet. How life changing. How much he wished he could have shared it with me. And then, how much he knew I could do it. Could work up to it. Had it in me. Was selling myself short.
So I told him to put our names in for the lottery. I was sure we’d never get it. Was counting on it. But the Universe has a sense of humor, no? I had never hiked 10 miles in a day before. At elevation. With a pack on. For several days in a row. And this part, I think is what the Strength card is really all about. Because I could not have done it at first. No way. 3 miles was a lot, with him carrying my water and snacks for both of us.
But, gentle pressure applied over a long period of time can yield amazing results. 100 days before our trip, I set a plan up to get me in shape to do this. For love. For pride. For a kind of healing ritual. 3 miles at first, on flat trails. Then hills. Then carrying my own stuff. Then longer trails. Heavier backpacks. Then we got a real backpack. Well, two, as the fist one was not cutting it. And I hiked with it empty for a while. Then a book. And then books and water. And then we started to do ‘shakedown hikes’ designed to prove that I could do 10 miles on both a Saturday and a Sunday. That I was ready.
The High Sierra camp trip was the highlight of the year. One of the best vacations ever. When we got the the summit on the last day, for the highest camp, he hugged me very hard and told me how proud he was of me. That I had come so far, and was so very very strong.
(P.S. Last year I wrote this.)