This morning, Legogate is hidden by mist and rain. Every morning, since we climbed it, I wake up in the mornings, look up at the mountain and see the marker at the top where we were. This morning, I can barely visualize the foothills. That’s a bit how life after our Oshoek visit feels. I know that the community based organizations can make such a difference. The volunteers in Oshoek are so new – they are just beginning the climb. Halfway up Legogate, we reached a flat meadow overlooking the valley and I was already tired. Climbing with a group of 20-somethings and my boys, I was definitely the slowest of the group. Part of me – most of me - wanted to stop at the meadow, wait it out, and enjoy the view. I looked at the steep rock climb ahead of us and I wasn’t really sure I could even physically do it. Still, I didn’t want to look at the summit every day and say, “I almost made it”. So, I climbed. I found scaling rocks and climbing to be much easier than walking the steep incline winding through the bush. Each handhold and foothold that felt secure was exhilarating. When footholds were less secure, someone would reach back and offer a hand or carry my bag until I found the next one. While it was humbling to climb with others stronger and far more agile than I, it also gave me motivation and support when I need it. Once we hit the summit, it was the most amazing view – 360 degrees taking in Kruger Park, Masoyi, Nelspruit, all the way to Mozambique. I would have enjoyed the view from the meadow having never known this vista, but this was reward in itself.
This morning , I have to remind myself that the summit is still there. In the quiet drip of rain, I feel like the skies are mimicking the tears and heaviness I feel about Oshoek – obscuring the rewards of last week. I don’t mind – there’s something real and appropriate about the heaviness. Just like the exhilaration of the mountaintop, I don’t want to miss the tears and heartbreaks of the valley.