A friend — well, someone I was in love with a LOOONNNGGGG time ago climbed Annapurna II. I had never known anyone who had climbed a Himalayan peak, so he was pretty astonishing to me just for (“just”?) that. He was also handsome, kind and smart. Overwhelmingly perfect, but I digress. He wrote in a letter, “Getting up is one thing. It’s getting back down that matters most, and the descent is often more difficult than the climb.”
Since, for me, the metaphor almost always appears out before the reality sinks in, that meant — means — it doesn’t matter to what heights we ascend, sooner or later we have to descend, and it’s better to come down in one piece.
At this point in my life, every sharp hill is Annapurna Something because of the descent which is a lot more difficult than the climb.
I make my way down the hill, side-stepping like a squeamish skier on a steep, short slope, my shorter leg on the uphill, my longer leg on the downhill.
But so far I make it home. 🙂