The Bean and I took my Heavy-B for a walk on Sunday. Usually, I walk the fields with my boy, but on Sunday, with the warm temperatures and sunshine, I felt like leaving my comfort zone and taking a more challenging walk. Also, Buster has been a ball of energy with the warm weather and needed the challenge to tire him out. We have trails surrounding the farm that lead into the neighboring state park. We also have a lot of gas-well roads that are beautiful to walk. The Bean and I reached a fork in the path and had to decide which way to go. I would not have guessed that our walk would turn into a life lesson.
When we came to the fork in the trail, we could choose to go left or right. Going right would be a more leisurely walk. It would take us across the neighbor’s field, skirting our farm perimeters, and bring us out in our field above the pond. Choosing to go left would lead us down a long, steep hill, across a creek, through the woods, and to a ravine complete with a waterfall. To return home, we would have to backtrack and ultimately climb up the steep hill we had walked down.
I left the choice up to my bean. Always wanting the people around me to have all the information possible, I pointed out the pros and cons of each option. My bean, being my bean, chose to go down the steep hill. The walk down was great. We stopped by the creek, and Buster and The Bean played in the rushing water for a while. We then made our way to the ravine and sat and watched the waterfall that was gushing full force with all the melted snow and rain. It was a lovely walk until we had to turn around and return the way we came.
Once we reached the steep hill’s bottom, we looked at each other and said, “What have we done?” Looking up at that hill from its base was intimidating and felt daunting. My bean began lamenting her choice of trails and the difficulty of making our way to the top. Taking her by the hand, I told her we would tackle it like we do every other seemingly impossible problem; we would break it down into smaller, more manageable parts. She sighed, agreed, and said, “let’s do this!”
As we stood gawking at the steep incline, I noticed the small plateaus built into the road. In even increments, a plateau was built into the steep hillside. I told The Bean, “all we have to do is make it to the first plateau; we can handle this.” She sighed dramatically; I have no idea where she gets such annoying behavior, probably from her dad. Insert a wink.
We climbed the steep incline, leaning forward to make the climb easier. Just when I thought my heart would burst in my chest, we reached the first plateau. Panting for air and rubbing our aching legs, we stood until our heart rates returned to normal. We looked up, looked back, and felt the weight of our decision. Rather than look back at how little ground we had covered, we looked ahead to how far we had to go. We held hands and began our climb to the second plateau.
By the time we reached the fourth plateau, The Bean had thrown herself onto the wet ground declaring she didn’t care if she got wet and muddy; she needed a break. I laughed at her theatrics but parked myself on a fallen tree, secretly hoping I did not die on this gas-well road. Now, who is the dramatic one? Even The Heavy-B was panting and exhausted. This time, when we looked back down the path, we saw we had covered more ground than we had left to climb. That was a good feeling. We had two more plateaus to meet, and we would be at the top. With newly found inspiration, we helped each other up and climbed to the next plateau.
Finally, we had one more section to climb, and then we would be at the top. However, this last portion of the hill was a doozy. The Bean suggested we call The Bibbed Wonder to come to get us on the side-by-side. I reminded her we had just moved the side-by-side into the garage for its annual maintenance, and it was out of commission. Also, calling on The Bibbed Wonder to rescue us would open the gate to endless hours of torment and teasing. I just couldn’t do that to myself. At this point, The Bean, The Heavy-B, and I lay down on the trail and waited for our breathing to return to normal and our heart rates to drop. I’m not going to lie; it was rough. However, we laughed at ourselves the entire time.
We finally mustered the strength to climb the last leg of the hill. Once we were at the top, our legs were like Jell-O, our breathing was ragged, and we were dying of thirst. However, we looked back at how far we had come and high-fived. It was exhilarating to know we made it up the horrible hill that had obviously been built to kill someone. We didn’t ask for outside help and didn’t need to be rescued; we just took an arduous journey one small section at a time. We encouraged each other, laughed at ourselves, took our time, and did it.
As we walked back to the fields on blessedly flat ground, The Bean informed me she was impressed with my “badass attitude.” I looked at her funny and asked what was so badass about almost dying on a hill. She laughed at me and said she likes how I look at problems. She also informed me I’m dramatic and annoyingly cheerleader-like, but she still thinks I’m a badass. Aside from the backhanded compliment, she still made me feel good. Good grief, she really has become a teenager.
I informed her that the hill is a lot like life. We made a choice, had to deal with the consequences, rise to the challenge, suck it up, and keep climbing. There’s only one way to go; up. Any considerable problem can be broken down into smaller, more manageable tasks. For example, homework, housekeeping, relationships, jobs, and tasks can feel overwhelming, like the end is just out of reach. Often, if we work together, cheer each other on, and take it one small section at a time before we know it, we’re at the top. The Bean kicked me in the butt with her muddy shoe, scoffed at me, and said, “Can we just go home, get a drink, and take a nap?” I responded with, “Whatever, brat!” She laughed but took my hand and said thanks for a good day. She might be a bratty teenager most of the time, but she’s a terrific kid underneath all the hormones, drama, and wisecracks. Hopefully, all my annoying cheerleader-like qualities and teachable moments will sink in and make a difference in her world. If nothing else, she will have good stamina and strong legs.
On this lovely February day, stay safe, be smart, make wise choices, break down your problems into smaller tasks, understand that it might take time and effort, but you can do anything, and of course, wash those hands.