Saturday, September 15, 2007

Anchor Points

On the East Face of Longs Peak in the Rocky Mountains, iron pitons were driven years ago into the cliff’s smooth surface and left there for the next climber. It is a difficult ascent, not for the faint of heart, but has been made numerous times including once by this writer. Before the wall, there is a long and challenging route across ice fields and scree that tires the climbers, and the 14,000+ altitude leaves them breathless. Mountaineering skills are involved in conquering the sheer sheet of rock. The toughest part of the climb comes when you are nearing exhaustion. Without those pitons, those anchor points, it would be impossible for many to continue.

Those long distant mountain climbing days did provide life lessons that I have carried for all these fifty plus years. Now…as I am struggling to fill the huge hole Windy’s marriage and subsequent move have left in my home and in my heart, I’m hanging on to anchor points… looking for the next foothold or place to grasp to pull myself to safety. These spots of protection help me to steady myself and keep from plunging into free fall. They are plans, events, appointments… duly noted on the calendar to remind me of places I have to go and people I have to see. They are family and friends who reach out. This is a climb for me up a blank wall out of beckoning depression. As treacherous as if I were setting out to summit Longs again.

The slant of late afternoon light and the chill breeze of approaching night spark me into action to find a comfort zone before darkness falls. Armed with my book and my knitting and my ubiquitous afternoon pot of coffee, I seek shelter from the storm of emotions that keep me off balance. Joy and happiness for Windy as she starts a new life as wife and soon-to-be mother with her own home, sadness and nostalgia for time past as my life turns a corner and heads into another decade. I will need those anchor points.


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