Sunday, February 8, 2009

Risking the Complications

When I was in my teens and twenties I did a lot of rock climbing and mountaineering. I was strong and boldly claimed that I’d do anything once. I hung out with men and women—mostly men --who climbed and flew and jumped out of planes and dropped into deep caves. I went down rivers in a kayak and once came so close to drowning.

Later I realized that my physical risk taking was a substitute from emotional risk taking. I could jump out of an airplane but I also jumped out of any relationship when I got to close to loving. Over time I’ve become wiser about physical risks and riskier about my emotional life. It’s worth the trade-off.

Here is a quote I kept taped to my wall when I was that rock climbing, kayaking, spelunking girl. It is by Rene Daumal in his book, “Mont Blanc”.

“You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: what is above knows what is below but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends one sees no longer but one has seen. There is an art of conducting one’s self in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see one can at least still know.”

This may also be the answer to why I am willing to love this man even with all the complications.

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