A few days ago I climbed Pen-Y-Fan, the highest mountain in South Wales. Little did I realise when I set out that morning just what a magical and sacred journey that climb would be for me. It was the first time I had done anything like this in 20 years and some people did not think I would be able to reach the summit. I have considered my body “Broken” for many years and right up until the day of the climb my left arm had been in a sling for two weeks. Maybe it was the beauty of the mountain, covered in snow or maybe shear will power but as I climbed I started to commune with every muscle, bone and the blood in my body. At one point I thought…”I might die here on this mountain, hmmm….but that will be OK” As I climbed higher, the deeper I went into my body, I sensed a power, an energy so immense that it would carry me as far as I wished if I asked it to. As I reached the Summit with my hubby we held hands and a crow circled over head squawking. My hubby and I look at each other, we knew the crow was welcoming me to the Summit of myself, I have always spoken with the crows.
On the way down the crow followed me down, landing on a rock near the path I was walking on, I paused to look at it and it took off, circled me twice and disappeared. When we reached the bottom of the mountain I realised that the pain in my left arm had disappeared, I turned to the mountain to thank it for my healing, in a tree nearby a crow squawked.
David Whyte, the poet, tells a story of when he was in his mid twenties living on a very old working farm half way up a Welsh Mountain. He talks of the rain and more rain beating down for months, but the sheep had to be fed and herded, the wood had to be chopped and brought in. He talks of not just every mountain having a name but every corner of the field. He speaks of how we humans need our warm houses and full bellies but sometimes…sometimes, we need to go out into the wild and the rain and get soaking wet, we need to feel what hunger feels like.
I believe sometimes, we need to go out to meet nature in her fullest to meet our own frontiers, to feel and commune with our bodies. Then we reach our own summits.