We took the kids (all three of them) to the top of Mt. Mansfield yesterday. We cheated and took the toll road up but that doesn’t mean we didn’t still spend 6 hours hiking around the ridge line… did I mention we had all three kids with us?
I could talk about how awesome the kids did on the hike, or how I was an idiot and put sunscreen on everyone else and got sunburned myself. Or how I had a panic attack and nearly broke down crying because I was overwhelmed with fear when the kids were hiking near the edge over some fairly scrambly rocks.
But mostly what I keep thinking about is an encounter we had on the hike back down. Hiking with 3 kids in tow all ages 5 and under means we go significantly slower than the average hiker. So we kept stopping to move aside so the faster groups could pass us. The paths are rather narrow and rocky and hard to pass people without them stopping. We were walking down the path and I heard someone coming up behind us so I yelled ahead to the husband and the oldest to find a place to move over so they could pass. The couple smiled and the woman told me that we should go ahead because they were going to be really slow. I explained that we were all together and with three kids we were undoubtedly the slowest on the mountain at that time. She looked at me and replied with a pained expression that she had MS. I could see she was struggling some and asked them to please go ahead thinking that the longer we held them up the more pain she was likely to be in at the end of the hike. They went on ahead and were soon lost from site. We slowly picked our way through the rocky terrain until we were down where it was more level. At this point the kids were feeling confident since they were on easier footing and they started to go faster. We caught back up with the couple near the end of the trail. My oldest wanted to run and kept crowding them. I tried to get the husband’s attention and get him to back up a bit. But the couple decided to stop and let us pass. As we were passing the woman was apologizing to us “I’m sorry, I’m just so slow.” she said sadly. And with those words I felt a sudden surge of anger, what kind of a world do we live in where a person with MS feels compelled to apologize for still trying to go out and do the things they love? I turned back and looked her in the eye and said “It is okay, you’re still going faster than everyone sitting at home and that is worth a lot.” I wish I could have said more. I wish I could have told her how sorry I was that she felt guilty or inadequate or whatever she was feeling that made her apologize to us. I wish that I had been brave enough to tell her that I found the fact that she was out there at all in 80+ degree weather, hiking the state’s highest mountain, was inspiring and beautiful.
So today I am praying in a special way for this unnamed woman, and for everyone who is stigmatized for things that are beyond their control. In our rush and hurry world its easy to forget that some people aren’t going slow by choice, and that even the ones who are, aren’t wrong for doing so.
So I have decided to try to do the couch to 5k training program. Hoping to run the Shelburne Farms 5k in October. So far I have made it through two days without any pain or suffering, ask me again in 3 weeks how I’m feeling and we’ll see if the story is the same.
In other news here is a better post processing version of that arch photo as well as the one I like better. Not sure if one or both are going to the fair but I think I’m getting somewhere.
Went and played around at the old breeding barn at Shelburne farms this weekend, trying to get something for the ‘arches and gateways’ category for the fair
In the meantime here is a picture of a tea strainer.