If they had not told me I was ugly, I never would have sought my beauty. If they had not told me that they would break me, I never would have learned I’m unbreakable. If they had not told me that they were trying very hard not to be mad at me, I wouldn’t have known that they failed.
“We live in Bozeman,” my facebook friend Lanny wrote me. “Stop by. Sarah and I would love to see you.”
I arrived in Bozeman expecting saloons, hitching posts, wood sidewalks and the clop-clop-clop of horses. Instead, there had been some geographical hocus pocus because Bozeman is basically a very sweet, charming college town with soigne restaurants and trendy clothes stores. It looked to be imported from Massachusetts except for the mountains at a distance.
“I could get used to this,” I thought.
To be fair, greater Bozeman seemed to stretch a mere four blocks in every direction, but that was so much larger than any ville I have been in for the past week so I was impressed.
I followed the directions Lanny gave until I got to the part where I was to follow the switch backs.
I am scared of heights. Sky rise hotels I’m the one asking for the second floor. All of the West Virginia by ways spooked me. I have never been to the top of Willis Tower even though I lived in the Chicago area 53 years.
I cried all the way up to Lanny’s house because at every turn I thought I was going to fly over the edge of the road and tumble down the mountain.
Shortly after I arrived, Sarah returned from a grocery trip.
“How do you DO it?” I cried.
“Oh, you get used to it,” she said.
And she’s absolutely right.
After I left the Joneses, I traveled up to Canada to Banff.
in Banff, I visited my facebook friend Madame X. Madame X doesn’t want me to use her name because she has a stalker ex-boyfriend. She’s even changed her name on facebook in order to shield herself from him. I totally sympathized. We had a wonderful evening in town and the next morning we climbed Sulphur Mountain. There is a series of switchbacks up the 7500 elevation mountain. There were spots when I would look down and cry. There were spots where I told myself that it was okay, I have lived a long, lovely life and I have two great sons to show for it. There were spots when I counted my steps “one, two” and then stopped and started over. This wasn’t altitude sickness, this was naked fear.
But there was a weird part of me that was proud that I was keeping up with Madame X. After all, she’s an adorable, athletic twentysomething year old. Here I am fifty four years old and I’m keeping up. Then we got to the peak.
“Sorry I was pretty slow,” Madame X said. “But I twisted my ankle a few days ago.”
Still, I got up the mountain. I even sat on top for a bit and even looked down. But now I had a problem.. . . how to get down. i am a western girl used to switchbacks but not quite ready for the ride back down. Maybe you’re afraid of something–lightning, clowns, spiders. I believe you are not afraid that you are inadequate, but your deepest fear is that you are powerful beyond measure. xxoo