I recently blogged about the movie “Wild” featuring Reese Witherspoon, based on the memoir of Cheryl Strayed’s journey hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. There are some great quotes in there. Today I’d like to highlight one from an Emily Dickinson poem.
“If your Nerve, deny you
Go above your Nerve”
Talk about nerves. My husband and I decided to hike the Rockies just after Memorial Weekend, May 31. We thought we’d see 3 or 4 pretty lakes, each about a half mile apart, and be done in about an hour or 2. Little did we know the park just opened the path after the holiday because of snowfall. Thankfully we had recently purchased our first pair of hiking boots, and they were waterproof. We must have changed our clothes every 20 minutes. From tank top to long sleeve to breathable jacket to rain jacket to light down jacket and sometimes back off again at intervals. It was actually pretty warm until the wind came. Until the rain came. Until the sleet and hailstorm that rangers never warned us about. Luckily we found shelter under a rock slab…sort of. But that was at the top. First we had to get there. And that involved climbing snow and ice-covered paths steadily inclining. We had no idea each lake required a hike in elevation. But we followed the others, hoping they knew what they were doing…where they were going–some of them slipping around in street shoes and wearing nothing more than a t-shirt and jeans. I secretly wanted to quit a few times all while having the time of my life. I love to hike, but my nerves get me every time, especially with looming heights, steep cliffs, and now icy paths. My mind is always thinking about what might go wrong. I used to hush that inner voice, try to turn it off, even curse at it. But that never worked. The best thing to do is let it talk. Acknowledge it like an old friend. Let it chatter on in the background. But meanwhile get to work. Get moving. Start climbing. And when it gets to that point where you think you want to stop and turn back, that’s when you must go above the nerve.
Good luck to you on all your journeys. Safe travels and take care. But don’t let a little thing like fear stop you. It’s only the background music for your adventure. And when you make it back, that same voice will say, “I knew you could.”