Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cooler than a Mountain

On the way to the library my 3-year-old boy spoke wistfully from the back seat, “I wish I could climb a mountain.”

His *ahem*-year-old mommy in the front seat thought, “I used to wish the same thing.” Then I thought, wait a minute, I still wish I could climb a mountain.

Got me thinking about the limitless future that children see stretched out before them. As a child, you believe that anything is possible, if only you are old enough, and your darned parents quit interfering. Money is no object, practicality is irrelevant and there will always be enough time. You will eat Lucky Charms for breakfast every day, then go climb a mountain, and have a picnic with ice cream for dessert before you sail your boat home to your tree house.

At what age or milestone do people stop believing that anything is possible? We get so wise, we start dismissing dreams because they are unrealistic. But isn’t that what dreaming is about? Just because you have a firmer grip on reality as an adult doesn’t mean you have to stop believing in possibility. I believed that I would have all the skills and freedom necessary to climb a mountain, once I turned 13—my magic age. If I could believe that, why can’t I believe I could climb a mountain at, oh, 83? Maybe that can be my new magic age.

I’ve seen mountains, I’ve driven in them. Haven’t climbed a mountain. But if my little boy is going to climb a mountain, I’m going to be climbing too.

A mountain is his ultimate standard of comparison. If something is tall he wants to know if it’s taller than a mountain. If our destination is far, he asks, “is it as far as a mountain?” His oatmeal is hotter than a mountain. He even said the book he found at the library was “cooler than a mountain.”

I don’t know about that. Mountains are pretty cool.

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