Imagine you are perched on a granite outcropping high in the Rocky Mountains sometime early in the summer. There are patches of snow on the ground and when the wind gusts really strong, the cold scrapes your knuckles and anything else you can’t… quite…. stretch the sleeves or the collar of your jacket far enough to cover. Your task is to occupy this position for a certain amount of time–preferably without plummeting to your death or retreating off into the woods somewhere and getting lost.
It isn’t terribly difficult–no more so than the climb that has brought you to this place–but it does require all of your concentration: the ledge is narrow, the wind tears at your clothes and eyes and sometimes blows so fiercely you find it hard to breathe in a natural rhythm.
But there is also sunshine. And if you angle yourself just right against the wind and lean in to the rock at your back, you can feel its warmth seeping into your limbs and that space between your shoulder blades. And looking down the mountain, seeing how far you come, it feels good to be there–to be entrusted to the task at hand–and to know that it is just that: a finite task, that will have its end.
I feel a little like that buffeted climber, this past semester.
There are those moments when I sit back and just feel the sun seeping into my center. But at the same time–there is that precipice, and the relentless wind, and the task not completed. It isn’t that difficult, no, to stand my ground. But I’m not going to hold dinner parties up here, either.
So don’t mind me as you pass by. I’m not ignoring you, or scowling at you or your path or anything else you’ve chosen–though I may appear to be, from where you are. I’m just squinting into the wind, I promise.