our everest

I wasn’t worried – I had a micro-flashlight with fresh batteries and a blessed shell-fish  in my back-pack – what could go wrong?

I was fifty last week. A mid-life-crisis-inducing milestone for most people but just another day for me.  Perhaps things will feel different after I’ve walked the Camino de Santiago. I’ve time off later this year and squirrelled away some money – not much – but enough to fall in step with some genuine pilgrims for five weeks, take advantage of the basic accommodation and simple food.  Maybe it’ll soften my heart and open my mind to accept the end of youth, or onset middle age, or the decades in between…
A few good friends sent birthday gifts inspired by the trip, for example; a micro-flashlight. And a scallop shell that has already made the trip to Santiago.
My wife is away so I’m doing all the washing and cleaning at the moment.
There’s not a clean plate or pair of pants anywhere.
I texted my 15 year old daughter who was at work.
“I’m going up Hungry Hill this evening to watch the sunset and moonrise. Are you in?”
“Am I in?” came the reply.
“Yeah, are you coming?”
“Obviously.  Duh.”
When she got back from work it was high tide so we went for a swim in the Atlantic. Which was warm.  We were a month into the best summer Ireland has ever known (probably) and that night it would be full moon.  
She cooked dinner – actually she made a salad from things she found in the garden – while I looked for cat food. For the cats.  And I packed for the trip; the torch, the shell, lots of water… That’s about it.
Looking at the map earlier in the day it was clear to me that we should go up-and-down the quick route which we’ve done before. But I’d always liked the idea of making a horse-shoe walk out of it so I put the pedal-bikes on the back of the car.
Not long after 8pm I parked the car where the tarmac ended and the bog road begins. We freewheeled all the way back down to the church, turned left at the main road and pedalled as far as Parc, chaining our bikes to a fence at the cross, and began walking from there.  
Let’s recap; Daddy thought that because the weather was amazing and it was full moon night we should go and watch the sunset from the top of Hungry Hill.  Coming down would be no bother, sure, the moon so bright it’s casting a shadow…
Except it was the first cloudy night for ages.
Below Glas Loch at 1am, just after we found the bog road  –  for the first time in a long time we knew where we were on the map that Daddy should have brought…
My daughter said it was a great adventure. It certainly had been a lesson in humour, presence under pressure and paternal patience for me.
We were as quiet as the dark night walking down to the car.  Quiet until in a cheery voice she said:
“I’m not sure I need to go up Carrauntoohil now.  If you’ve been on top of one mountain, you feel like you’ve been on top of them all.”
L on the edge
…on top of them all

Published by mattpadwick

Kum Nye (Tibetan Yoga teacher),author

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