Photo provided by JIayin Li.

That was a serene morning. All the walks came to a halt. The weary bodies were seeking more effort to keep going.

We seemed to be shrouded in formidable green. Birds flew by at times with silvery sounds. Weeds were swaying gently with shiny dews in the breeze. And, the fresh air made us relaxed and delighted. We were trying to surmount the height of Heybrook Ridge, near Index, Washington in Snohomish County, and get to the peak.

But faced with such a long, steep, and rough trail, I trembled at it involuntarily. I hadn’t climbed so high before, and my body was weak. I was afraid I would vomit like last time I did after running and wouldn’t persevere. While I was walking, the backpack was constricting my breath, my steps were getting heavier, and the destination seemed remote to me. I was disheartened already.

Contrarily, others were pushing on. Everyone was exerting themselves at that time.

However, what was I doing? I meditated.

I realized I couldn’t allow myself to go on like that. I didn’t want to go behind others. I couldn’t cower and admit defeat. Hence, I decided to trust myself and encouraged myself to push on. After a couple sips of water, I struggled to keep going. I tripped over the stones many times. I was out of breath and sweating profusely. Sometimes the thorns from plants stuck into my palms but the tingle was nothing. I reminded myself “Nothing is difficult if you put your heart into it.” Courage sustained me and bolstered me along.

After the suffering of hiking, the ridgeline was only one step from me. I overcame myself!

Standing on the ridge, the watery clouds appeared before our eyes. I continued to climb up to the top of the Heybrook Fire Lookout tower. There and then, I wasn’t scared anymore. I stood on the highest point of the ridge; I smiled gladly toward the azure sky and white clouds with my head up. The high and distant mountains, the bright snowfield, the traces of flying birds that looked like rolling hills … all of this seemed reachable by me. When I looked down, there was an infinitesimal unit of height. The fatigue and wheezing turned into the forceful witness of my success. At this very moment, my joy was indescribable!

Only if you stand on high places, then you can gaze into the distance. If you want to stand on high places, don’t belittle yourself. You must overcome your timidity and numerous barriers. During this time of climbing the mountain, what I comprehended was not only how to climb a mountain, but also the truth of our lives — trust yourself, don’t circumscribe yourself, and challenge yourself.

To manage our lives is the same as to climb a mountain. If we desire to experience the extraordinary splendor on top, we can’t lack in our resolution and pursuit.

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