The dream had me there. In a sea of rich air I trekked slowly up the Old Lady’s backbone. A kindly breeze mopped my dampened brow. Tiny little flecks of life darted around my head, tapping and tickling my resting ears. They rested, free from the thrum of the urban circus. It was a kindly slope. After the first joyous glimpse of the majestic peaks, it was time to walk. Below lay the undulating screen of Llyn Llydaw. A glittering sun played chase with the ever-changing ripples, stroking its dark smooth mane.
The outline of the horseshoe sat permanent on its surface. I was being watched from beneath and above. As the grassy track gave way to the cold hard slate, the gradient grew. Now I was paying. I was wanting fitness but achieving exhaustion. I flashed back to every other time I stood in the same spot feeling the breath shorten and the muscles tighten. This was the price for beauty. This was its joy and its penance.
Over the final ridge I joined the railway track. Straight ahead was the final push. There was a collective chorus of short desperate breaths. The aching limbs of the Snowdon pilgrims left no time for conversation. We were fighting the mountain.
At the summit the joy returned anew, coursing through my laboured frame. All around lay the familiar kingdoms; known well but now viewed from my exclusive eyrie. Anglesey, small Welsh towns, the Lancashire coast and the whole of Snowdonia glistened in the late Summer sun. This was rare.
Many times before, I had ascended into the damp grey of a northern winter. I’d be enshrouded in a cocoon of swirling cloud battered by the rage of the season’s wind. But that was the dream. That was the great giver of joy and satisfaction. A challenge to be taken time and time again.
And now, the front door is my mountain. But I can still burst through and feel the wind. I do not cry. For my dream is not a dream of desire. It is a dream I have lived. My sixth age may have come too early. I have glasses on my nose, pouch on one side and a crack in my big manly voice. But I have sought the bubble reputation and I have sighed like a furnace.
To the able bodied; do it while you can. Walk far, climb mountains and appreciate the pleasures around you.
Thank-you for reading.