Above The Clouds

Originally posted January 2014 on RunPrettyFar.com

Twice this winter Seattle has been hit by ‘Fogmageddon’ – a thick layer of gloomy moisture that sits heavily on our city. The first time, in late October, I was able to make it slightly romantic in a dramatic, brooding sort of way. I’m always one for a good pretend, and I got by imagining I was running through the mists at Pemberley.

But now, in January, the fog is just depressing. It’s hard enough to head out into the cold, but harder still when there’s murky gray all around. I find myself sitting in the car at the trailhead, baking in the electric heat, dreading the moment when it’s time to turn off and jump out.  And the only reason I finally go is because I’ve found magic at the top of the mountain.

Each time I begin to climb, I doubt. Surely this damp malaise extends forever. I look constantly upward, not for the end of the hill, but for some tiny pocket of blue sky to move toward. I look for hope.

First there is a dull light behind the wall, a slight translucent quality to the haze. It grows into a small circular opening and I smile knowing the trick is indeed going to work again. A few more steps and I hit a slice of true sun. A wave of happiness and relief washes over me. The climb feels easy now, renewed in the knowledge that light is waiting at the top. Finally, I reach the summit and am greeted by a warm, golden world high above the clouds.

Instead of quickly taking in the view and moving on, like I usually do, I sit down and simply absorb. The vitamin d, the gratitude, the wonder of using my legs to rise up from melancholy. Sitting above the city, thinking of all the people trapped below the clouds, it’s hard not to make the hike into more.

When we’re stuck underneath, it feels like there is no way out, no options, no clear path to a better place. We start to accept what appears in front of us as what is – and what will be. How can you believe in something you can’t yet see?

But so often, just outside of our sight line, is the answer we’re searching for. An unseen doorway holding sunshine and promise. From the bottom of the hill, the idea of warmth in the winter seems impossible. But with a little sweat, a leap of faith, and the willingness and curiosity to look around the next corner, a new reality is waiting.

Dream of your blue sky – then believe in it, work toward it, fight for it. What we can’t see is just that…..what we can’t see. That doesn’t mean it’s not there.

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