High Mountain Road

Happy September Everyone!

In the past 48 hours, I have spent 20 of those willingly trapped inside a moving vehicle, in order to witness 2 x 90 minute soccer games; A trek I would initiate for no other reason but to watch one of my kids do what they love best. After caffeinating appropriately and entertaining myself with a blaring mix of 80’s tunes, it was time to change gears into one of my favorite zones while alone.

Random thinking time.

Family, Work, Friends – all topics that continuously cycle through my resting mind, in patterns that repeatedly ask, what is good – what is hard – what needs to change?

This thinking space is a processing exercise. Somehow, it gently brings things to light that would otherwise stay hidden behind emotional barriers, without trying to force out an answer or solution. I need this processing time to organize my thoughts after a disagreement with Hubby or an intense parenting moment. If I give myself enough space, pivotal values emerge to highlight a road to good decision making and almost undetectably, sweet clarity arrives.

But not this time. Instead, I caught myself ruminating on a recent challenge. Ruminating is not processing!  It is a stuck, obsessive replay of the drama, like a classic teenage ‘break-up’ song. It wields an addicting, false power over the memory of someone doing someone wrong. This may have been the 8th day I found myself ruminating about this particularly unpleasant work week with a temporary supervisor. It was easy to keep focussing on how high the stakes were in this conflict. My Status was at risk. Fairness was center front, and probably most affected – my Autonomy. If I was not aware of a threatened sense of autonomy being a catalyst to triggering a schwack of historical baggage, I am fully aware of it now.

I was set off – the ‘8 days later’ kind of set off!

Then this sign appeared on the highway:

I have always advocated taking the high road when facing personal conflicts and resisting the temptation of getting dragged into the pettiness of other peoples intentions.  At first, this sign seemed like a funny reminder from Love to let my ruminating go and elevate my thinking beyond the flood of emotions currently refuses to subside. I smiled to myself and asked “WWFFD?” (What Would Finding 52 Do?) 🙂

OK.  I will ask – what if my life is a High Mountain Road? What if I have chosen this location as the best place to be my best? Close to the clouds – stars – heavens and above the bog and mess of lower altitudes. If this is true, I would be wise to heed the signs placed by whoever engineered this road, so I will finish reading the sign:

Expect Sudden Weather Changes

A seasoned traveller would carry equipment and clothing to tackle adverse weather.  This prepared mindset would eliminate the question of IF the weather will get tricky, to an expectation of WHEN it goes from nice to naughty.  I may have been less blindsided by this current challenge, had I been prepared for uglier weather. My Pollyanna outlook has its draw-backs. As a coping strategy, my eternal optimism misses growing signals that all is not well. Significant time can elapse -14 years of a devastating marriage – before I start connecting clues. When I finally realize the universe is screaming within an inch of my face, trying to reveal what I have successfully avoided as disagreeable territory, my dukes suddenly materialize and I am throwing punches to free myself from a corner of complacency.

I should not need a Frankenstein bolt of reality to recognize warning bells. Neither should I be shocked or sent reeling when things go south.  I have been on this road long enough to know, as quickly as the weather changes for the worse, it also changes for the better again.

Another sign caught my attention:

Runaway. HAHA. Indeed. If I ever write a memoir, that just might be the title.

I love this sign. It proves I am not the only person who can get carried away. I mean, how hard is it to stop at the foot of a grand ascent and check to see if the brakes are working?

Apparently quite hard, if the High Road is designed to mitigate people like me – who head out trusting all will be well – who gain speed chugging up hills – who get consumed in random thinking – who miscalculate inclinations of the road – who obliviously test the limits of their skills and vessel. This is why the runaway lane exists. Instead of plowing into an unforgiving ditch or flying off the road over a cliff, this alternate route keeps sojourners out of harms way. A quick escape – perfectly timed amidst twisting, dangerous declines.

How do I escape my high road? Top five answers in no particular order:

  1. Any Beach/Shoreline
  2. Salted Dark Chocolate Combos of Every Variety
  3. Lingering Outdoors
  4. Visiting with Family and Friends
  5. Holding Babies

When the worst of my week hit, I petitioned desperately for Grammy time, raided my secret chocolate stash and talked to almost everyone in my closest support circle. The world was a safer place this week because I had runaway lanes.

Yet another sign:

Life can be dry and dull. Not every mile of the journey is thrilling – or even mildly entertaining. There are moments that drag on without promise of ending. So, why not build a bridge over the driest parts, to get to the other side quicker and hopefully stay hydrated? Many people had to blaze a trail though this valley, laboring against nature to effect a small path; Efforts lost on a generation of people who understand very little of the everyday struggles that came before vehicles were the main source of transportation.

In this way, life has become immeasurably easy for those of us who do not have to sweat through valleys or have fear of perishing on the journey.  I respect the gulch.  I honor the trailblazers and the bridge makers.  The High Mountain Road is a nicer place to be, because someone else did the hard work for me.

And this beauty:

Are you thinking what I am thinking? This is a sign about courteous driving and being considerate of the various speeds of others. Perhaps it is about the most efficient flow of traffic and at the very least, a message that encourages safety.

I was definitely not thinking that.

This is how random thinking time works. It is random. I saw this sign and immediately thought of staying true to my path. My right. Whatever is true, noble, honest, kind, and loving – that is my right and I must keep to it. No matter how many supervisors publically humiliate me, no matter if I get an explanation from a friend who has ignored me, no matter if my children decide to reject my love, no matter, no matter, no matter.

Others are going to let me down. Others hurt my feelings. Others are selfish. Others do things I cannot understand. Others are so frustrating.

I must let them pass. Go on, others. Go. I will get out of your way. We may be travelling the same road, but perhaps we are on different journeys. For my destination, I must keep right.

I am not sure if this sign needs any explaining – simply, taking chains off once completing the hardest ascent. I wish I had done this more in my life; Rid myself of the chains that were never meant to be permanent. Chains do serve a purpose – until they don’t. Ratio for signs saying put your chains on, and the one that said, take them off?


This may warrant a bit more consideration – where, when and how to take off chains.

And finally:

Because who – at the end of a long trip – does not want to be greeted by this reminder?

Welcome to Hope, weary wayfarer. No matter if we are chugging up that high mountain road with chains or a coasting over a bridge that traverses the driest gulch, hope is always waiting for us at the next exit, the next corner, the next hill – so hang in there! 

We are not alone. We are loved. The road allows escape when things get tough and if we keep right, everything else will pass.