and what a story it is

When people around me start to complain about it being cold, I usually nod and smile, ask if I can grab them a sweater or scarf, or turn on a heater, and then offer up the following story:

The cold no longer bothers me.

Two days into a week long backpacking trip from North Lake to South Lake in the Sierra, near Bishop, it started to hail on us.  We reached our destination for the night and realized we had to break up the surface ice on the lake we were camping next to in order to pump water for dinner and to refill our canteens.  Night brought a thunder storm that kept us all awake and kept the hail coming.  Morning brought more hail, and the day brought a snow covered pass we had to trudge to the top of, the trail buried so thoroughly we had to forge our own, more hail, three icy river fords and a campsite for that night that brought with it, you guessed it, more hail.  The following day it decided to be different and hail some more.

Three days of the most miserable conditions I have ever experienced in the Sierra.  Three days of cursing the mountains and the clouds and the trail and the hail.  I hated every step of it.  I couldn’t wait to be dry and warm.  I couldn’t wait to be out of the mountains and safely home where I could jump in a warm shower, where there was a roof to keep the elements off my head, where I had a bed that was off the frozen ground.

A strange thing happened, though, as the following summer approached, I found that I was looking forward to venturing back into the mountains.  I couldn’t wait to see what the new trip would have in store for me.  I know, there was definitely something wrong with me, and yet when I looked back on the disaster trip from the year before the experience had taken on a new light, a new warmth.  It no longer sent shivers down my spine thinking about how miserably cold I had been.  It no longer made me grimace.  I had a story…

The beauty of the mountains I love, the wonderment of getting lost in the wilderness for a week, the triumph of having accomplished something so few every even attempt was made that much more special, that much more beautiful, because of the extra struggles, because the trip was hard, because it was broken.

And now, the cold no longer bothers me.


Queen Creative have prompted me yet again:


Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Kintsukuroi is a Japanese noun meaning “to repair with gold”; the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver lacquer and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.

Idea by Braith an’ Lithe

Suggested Prompts:

  • Share a story about something that is more beautiful for having been broken
  • Write a poem about something that is more beautiful for having been broken
  • Show us a picture of something repaired
  • … or make up your own related prompt!

30 thoughts on “and what a story it is

  1. I lived in the Colorado Rockies (the mountains, not the baseball team..LOL) on and off for over 20 years. While I never took a week long hiking/camping trip, I walked what seemed like a million miles from fishin’ hole to fishin’ hole, in all kinds of weather.

    There’s something about the mountains that makes a man feel good, no matter the conditions.

    Love the story, bro.

  2. I have a hell week backpacking story too which involved rain, dropping temperatures, a campsite flood, and forgotten tent poles. Good times.

    • Thank you!
      Tony, I’m way behind on reading your blog… :-/ I’ll try to swing by later today and get caught up. When you moved to your new space I could no longer access your full posts from the computer I was using – the server blocked it for some reason. And, in the evenings when I could log in from a different computer I seldom have the time or the mental energy to do so anymore. Silly little prince getting in the way of my blog reading. But, I will try to be better about it.

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