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The Point

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Every once in awhile, when I was still a mountaineer, I would always ask myself, what’s the point? I mean, you go up, you go back down. Then you spend a week or two planning and preparing, then you go up again, and you go back down again. For about four years I did that before (as my parents said) I finally concentrated on my job.

Years pass by, with me aching to go back to the mountains but can’t find the time to do so, until one day I got into an accident which hurt my back badly; my doctors said I wouldn’t be able to climb again for the rest of my life. As I lay down on my hospital bed, I said to myself, “Oh, that’s okay, what’s the point anyway?”

On my first night home, I turned off the lights and in the darkness, I stared at the ceiling of my room. Hours passed with me lying awake in the dark, thinking, why do I really go back climbing every time that I go down? Why do spend all those time planning and preparing? Then I closed my eyes and instantly, memories flood my thoughts. I know I wasn’t asleep yet, so I knew I wasn’t dreaming.

I saw myself packing my bag with my mountaineering stuff:  food, tent, clothes, and a mini camping stove. I was in a hurry, my group’s assembly time is at 2:00 a.m.  and it’s already 1:30 a.m. I only got thirty more minutes to get to our meeting place. I arrived about ten minutes late. We were still waiting for the other members. Finally when we’re gathered we started our trip. We were off to Mt. Arayat, an inactive volcano on Luzon island, here in the Philippines. I fell asleep while on the bus, and woke up two hours after.We arrived an hour early of schedule but started to ascend anyway to avoid the heat. Everyone had to carry at least five litres of drinking water aside from all our stuff because the ranger told us that there is no water source on top.

The weight of my bag started to wear me down around noon. We were still about halfway the thousand meters climb, I started eating my Jell-Os  to get emergency energies and hydration, as I needed to preserve the water that I was carrying for three more days of use. We walked and climbed and walked again, pausing from time to time to get some rest, crossed a two feet gap on the trail way frighteningly, as it was a thousand meters drop! The heat of the afternoon started to scorch our skin and we decided to take the shade that the Mother Nature offered and cooked our lunch. I took a power nap after.

I woke up energized and ready to climb again, so I gathered my things and strapped on my back pack and followed my group. We started to ascend again; I saw a lot of endangered bird species that inhabits the mountain. It was fascinating; we stop to admire the works of nature every once in a while. After a tiring, thirteen-hour walk-climb-walk we finally reached the camp site and started to set our tents and unpack, clean ourselves, cooked dinner and discuss the activities for the next day. We headed in each of our tent and started our rest.

The alarm went off six in the morning the next day (yes, we bring alarm clocks) everyone started to wake up, too, as the assembly is in about ten minutes we started to fix ourselves and closed up our tents. We headed for the peak of the mountain which is only about fifty meters away. When we reached the top, the sky was clear blue, and I usually look for a spot to contemplate on my life and the things that’s happening around me, or just consume the moment in silence. I found my spot, it was the edge of a cliff and it has a majestic view.

While I was standing on the edge of the cliff looking at the clear horizon I started to see a grayish cloud in the distance, a sign that a rain is coming. I told my group that there is a rain approaching and almost everybody decided to go back the camp site, while I decided to stay and sit with my feet over the edge, I can feel the stillness of the earth and the gust of a cool fresh air, so pure that you can almost tastes its sweetness. As the rain approaches, I looked up and I lied down, legs dangling on the cliff, I couldn’t care less of the thousands of feet drop off the cliff. I closed my eyes and waited until I felt the soft drizzle of the coming rain on my face, and I was just there feeling a certain kind of high, it was all heavenly … my mind and body was so free, I feel I could just lay there forever with no worries …  so I just did until the cloud of rain passed me by and I stood up drenched but recharged with good energies, it’s like I am one with the earth … 

Then while lying on my bed, I opened my eyes, and I said to myself, that is the point.


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