The task began at dawn when there was still a chill in the air and mere mortals still slept in their sun-induced slumber
except for nine brave souls
who were setting out to attempt what seemed to be a fool hearted journey. The preparation? The consumption of an extra-large Kona medium roast and an oatcake. Essentials? Plenty of suntan lotion, a good pair of shoes, water and a hat. Oh, and $2:50 for bus fare and $1.00 for gate admission.
If the first leg of the journey was any inclination of how the rest of it was going to be, it would be a day that would go down in infamy. Certain members of the party were running late. The line up at the coffee shop was abnormally long and moving incredulously slow. Tempers were already beginning to flare. Was it because of the insurmountable task before them? Or was it an insubstantial level of caffeine that put the party on edge?
Whatever the case, the goal before them was inspirational enough to push grouchiness aside.
They were all in this together.
Come hell or high water.
They were a family determined.
Eventually they all arrived at the center of the crater and looked forward and up at the path before them.
Hmmm. It was paved and seemed like a gentle incline at least to begin with. VERY manageable, if not enjoyable. And off they went with a spring in their step. Minutes later the slope increased, and the path became somewhat uneven. Not a problem though, there was a handrail and the oatcake kicked in.
And the trek wore on.
Within the hour the sun rose to a height that amplified the intensity of the heat. The crater took on the characteristics of a wok. Popping and sizzling in the center, heat radiating up the sides. People as egg noodles snapping and jumping to escape the hot oil coating the pan.
And no view to distract from the discomfort.
Onward they trudged. Determined to get to the top. And just when the unpredictability of the path and the height of the climb became a torture that was familiar and therefore tolerable, there, looming before them were the stairs…all 99 of them in the middle of the 1.4 mile journey.
And some felt (at least the author felt) as though she was walking and getting nowhere. That with each step she took, she slid backwards twice as far.
Moving forward was futile.
And she asked herself, “what is the point of trying if it’s not going to get me anywhere?”
And then she realized that it’s not as though the rest of her companions were expecting her to succeed. They actually weren’t expecting anything of her this day. They were just enjoying having her there with them.
Sharing the experience.
Sharing the day.
Sharing the moment.
Realizing this, the spring returned to her step and she moved onward and upward towards the top of the crater.
And the view from the top was expansive and breathtaking. And it was shared between
and throughout the little group of mortals who were bound by the strength of simplicity. The simple yet beautiful fact that they expected nothing from each other this journey