First there is a mountain.
I once worked in a busy research department where I was very fortunate to be partnered with a lovely colleague, Maureen. Whereas I’m not blessed with huge reserves of patience and can get a bit ratty at times of stress, Maureen rarely lost her Zen-like state of calm.
‘First there is a mountain...’ she would say, when I was tearing my hair out, earning herself a look of sheer exasperation. What the heck did an old hippie song about a mountain that came and went have to do with my problems? Eventually, I grasped that the words weren’t about getting lost whilst hiking, but about the path to enlightenment. Or Path to Enlightenment if you’re that way inclined. I’ve heard Maureen’s voice many times this year which has felt like a constant uphill struggle and it’s reminded me to try to deal with the challenges as they really are, not as insurmountable peaks.
Renovating the house is driving me nuts; I hate the disruption and mess. But as we move from room to room using them in unaccustomed ways, I’ve got to know the place better and feel I truly live here. Seeing the flash of Bardsey lighthouse last night, and the blue hills of the Llŷn Peninsula reaching into the sea whilst we ate dinner in a different room made up for the break in routine.
One of my personal mountains this year has been a niggling health problem which has stopped me running. If I let nature take its course, I’ll be fine, so when I’m straining to get out and just burn up my frustration, I have to remind myself that there could be serious consequences if I do. It’s a valuable lesson in patience!
Work too, hasn’t been all plain sailing. After a real Second Book Battle, (first, there is a mountain) I delivered my novel in May, but with a couple of slight misgivings that I tried to ignore. Well, I’ve just received the report and now I see (then there is no mountain) that I’ve let a couple of subplots run wild, almost pushing the main characters off stage! Now it’s down to the business of putting things right (seeing the mountain with fresh eyes!).
And just as I was hoping that Ma was on the mend, she was in the wars again this week when a dustcart mounted the pavement, clipped her injured arm sending it flying upwards and caused her to punch herself in the face. My sister’s on the case with this one and we’re just relieved that Ma’s escaped with shock and bruising when it could have been so much worse. On a happier family note, we also caught up with Stepson One and his new bride and Lily and her fiancé, Russ. A wedding and wedding to come. Mountains, no mountains; life goes on.
Painting is 'High Preseli Mist' by Tom Tomos