On this past Saturday I teamed up with some very dear friends that I have known close to 30 years, a married couple Brian and Tina, and two other couples. Brian and Tina probably have been married a little under 30 years. Brian started going to Stone Mountain to climb and enjoyed it so much he began to invite others to join along. As he stated, “This was the Sixth Trek!” My first climb, first “Trek.” I didn’t know really what to expect. I was thinking “Oh, this shouldn’t be an issue for me, I walk all the time, play golf and stay active! I got this!” We met at 6:00 am, I didn’t fall a sleep until around 1:30 am, so needless to say I was just a little tired from the start. It took about 30 minutes to get there, we had great conversation on the way, it was just fun and up lifting. After Brian parked the SUV, we got out, stretched, continued to talk, while waiting for two other people.
Then we started toward the mountain and I saw this:
I was ready to turn around, as I read: “The trail has natural terrain which is uneven and steep, Wear proper footwear; Do not attempt to hike if you have heart, back or other limiting physical conditions; Use caution, the mountain is very slippery when wet!”
Then as I looked up I saw this:
This was at the very bottom. And so we took off. It was easy to see who was familiar with what was coming ahead, as for me I had NO idea. Tina was kind enough to stick close by and I thank God for that. Her sister Peaches said, “go at your own pace,” the best advice I was given. It started off not to steep but with each step you took the reality was sinking in and the steeper it got. It was not going to be an easy venture, beautiful, great cool weather, but still ahead was a mile of continuous climbing of rocks of all shapes and sizes.
As we climbed, I thought on more than one occasion that I was NOT going to make it and about just quitting. But that is not why I went. I went to climb the mountain and make it to the top. So I kept going. And finally, after about 40 minutes I made it.
Five out of the Seven people made it to the top.
That was an accomplishment, small for some but huge for me. I had wanted to climb to the top of Stone Mountain for awhile, but just did not take any action to make it happen. Then as we prepared to go back down which was just as challenging, I looked over and saw a man who had on layers of clothes. And who did I think about? Yes, Nathaniel. I didn’t say anything to anyone. Remembering something that Nathaniel actually taught me. “Stay in the moment and don’t get off track.” No one would really understand why I thought of my brother, even if I explained that the guy who had on long pants, boots, what looked to be like 3 jackets, a scarf around his neck, with a knit skull cap on, reminded me of how Nathaniel USED to dress, they wouldn’t get it and if would have not been fair to take them out of the moment. So I kept it to myself and just thought how he would love playing one of his stringed instruments on top of that mountain. It made me feel a little sad, the man was all alone and I hoped that he would not be mistreated for being unique.
Then I got back on track to conquer this:
I made it to the TOP and I made it down. On the way down I was thinking that some how, one day, I would like for Nathaniel to play an instrument on the top of Stone Mountain, even if a helicopter has to get him up there. Just one more mountain for Nathaniel to climb and overcome, but I know he would give it all he had to make it and play his instruments. He is not a quitter and I should not be.
Thank you, Brian and Tina for the opportunity. It meant more to me than you will ever know.