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Stumbling Across Some Deeper Meaning on the Grand St. Bernard Pass

Following our last trip through the Alps, there were several mountain passes that we hadn’t ridden that found their way on to my riding bucket list. You know, for “next time.”

In hindsight, it’s really by the grace of the universe that there was a next time. Chalk it up to luck. Or is it something else?

Kenny and I found ourselves at the summit of the Grand St. Bernard some time in the mid afternoon. We parked our bikes and strolled around taking in the sights. I bought a sticker and some postcards and resisted the chocolate.

We walked towards the lake and stood there for a few minutes amongst the stillness of our surroundings. The scale of mountains is so tremendous. I find it difficult not to become introspective about my place in the world when surrounded with such enduring majesty. These mountain, hard, unforgiving, beautiful in their strength. And there I am – a fragile, weak, pink thing.

I stood watching a woman walking two St. Bernards on the mountain to my right. It was then that I had a moment. Not quite an epiphany, but I came to some understanding of my existence in the split second. You can move through your life and recite things by habit. You know these things to be truths on a surface level. But then there are moments of certainty when you come to know something deeply. You feel it and know it not by rote but through some acute awareness.

I came to the simple understanding that… this is it.

This life is all there is, as far as I know. And so it’s up to me to make my life be what I want. I can sit around wishing and dreaming and filing things away to see “someday” but no one is going to bring them to my doorstep. The fear that keeps me stationary eats away my happiness.

Four years ago, I tapped away on some keys and wrote out the words “See the Grand St. Bernard Pass.” As trivial as that goal might appear, as I stood watching those dogs walking along breathing in the smells of the Earth, I came to know I’d made it there of my own accord. If I can do this thing – Why not anything else I decide I want? My only limitation is my will.

That’s a lot to see in a pair of dogs.