Friday, April 20, 2012

The Climb—Southern Utah Style

In Southern Utah, just outside Moab, there’s this enormous sand hill. I say hill, not dune, because you’re driving along on the highway, surrounded by hundreds of extremely tall red cliff formations, and then you come around a bend and there’s this hill, which is part of one of these cliff-type mountains, only it’s made entirely of red sand.

And being made of sand, of course, people have to play in it. Because that’s what sand is for, yes? So you pull off the highway and park, and stand at the bottom of this hill and you think, yeah, I can totally climb this bad-boy. Easier than the stair-stepper at the gym. Cake. It’s just sand, and what’s softer, easier than sand?

Um. Yeah. Not so much. Because then you roll up your pants and take off your shoes and start climbing. And it’s harder than you thought. But, you know, you’re in decent shape, and a little hard work doesn’t scare you away. You look up, see a few people ahead, figure they’re still climbing, so it’s possible. And you keep going.

You come to a big rock. It’s a good place to rest, so you sit on it, turn around and look how far you’ve come. It looks a lot farther down than you realized. “Yes!” you think to yourself. “I’m awesome.” And you do a little dance (but carefully, because you don’t want to tumble down). Then you look up again. And it looks so. Far. Away.

But there are still people ahead, and you’re in good shape. Plus, you’re brave. So you start up again. Once again, you find a rock and rest. This time, you don’t look up or down, you just rest, let the air cool your sweat-soaked skin, and try to ignore the throbbing in every one of your muscles. This climb hurts more than you ever imagined. But at this point, you’re so close to the top that you’d be insane to stop now and miss out on that photo op with you at the top of the world.

So you climb some more. And some more. And some more. And it feels like you’ll never get to the top. Except eventually, you do.

You look down, and wave at all the people below, feeling accomplished because you. Made. It. Then you turn around, and you look, take in the place you thought was the top of the world. And you find a whole bunch more hills. And you’ve only scaled one. But it was a big one. Maybe the biggest one you’ve ever climbed. So you hold out your arms and you scream with delight, because all your hard work got you to the top of this really difficult hill.

And now you know how to climb the next one. Hopefully, it won’t be made of sand.


Jemi Fraser said...

Awesome post! There are some sand dunes/hills in Michigan like this too. Talk about a work out!!

And I love the analogy to writing - nicely done :)

L.T. Elliot said...

Boy, it does feel just like sand. You slip slide everywhere, no one step is sure, and it's about 1,000 times easier to fall over. But you're reaching a peak, Nichole. I can just feel it.

Carolyn V said...

I have goosebumps! This is a great post Nichole! And what a great analogy! <3