(Photo from Wikipedia)

My big kids’ Fall Break was last Thursday and Friday.  We normally trek to my mom’s but that’s a five-hour drive minimum and given that I haven’t had a full night of sleep in fifteen months, three weeks and four days (but who’s counting?) I just didn’t feel safe getting behind the wheel for an extended haul.  So we had a little “staycation.”

On Saturday, we went for a hike.  We live close to the geological anomaly that is Stone Mountain and my hubby decided that’s where we should go.

The climb up the mountain is always a treasure trove for someone like me who is an observer of people.  You get snippets of conversations as you climb.

Some are professional in nature:

“They mostly handle cardiac patients. But no, that’s another unit.”

Some are financial:

“But together, our taxes would be more like $4500.”

Some are educational:

“Georgia Tech gets harder the longer you’re there, so you’re at the easy Tech right now.”

Some are parental:

“Be careful!  It’s slippery!”

Some are loving:

“You sure you’re okay?  Here, honey, have some water and sit down.”

The kids did great and we had a lot of fun hopping the rocks and finding the most challenging routes as we ascended.

There’s this little pavilion about three-quarters up the walking trail, and just past that, the treeline essentially ends.

That’s where I stop.

I can’t explain it.  It’s some genetic weird-ism that I have that surely hearkens back to my primordial ancestors but I just get spinny and dizzy and panic attack-y up on mountains.  I lose my internal compass.  I feel physically ill.

(No, I’m not a big fan of downhill skiing.)

My husband, D, and I worked it out a long time ago that I would stop on a few rocks at the end of the treeline and wait for him to fully ascend and then join me again.  Which worked out well when we were just us.  But this time, he had to take all three kids with him.

He had Baby A in the Ergo on his back and W and M in each hand and they climbed.  Meanwhile, I waited on my rocks.

I meditated a bit.  Practiced some deep squats.  Did a few push-up sort of things on the rocks.  And listened hard.

About half the people who get to that point – where you get an amazing (if panic-inducing for me) view of Atlanta and the surrounding area – exclaim some sort of something wonderful.  The other half tends to utter some expletive-laden “ohmygod we still have more to go.”

Seriously, this Stone Mountain eavesdropping thing rocks.

(Rocks.  See what I did there?)

Anyhow, I overheard three women on the other side of the trail.  One of the women was wearing what she referred to as her “bag.”  It’s one of those foil-looking, baggy shirt thingies that I assume is designed to help you “lose weight” by making you sweat more.

Needless to say, I am not a fan.  (This is a gimmick-free zone.)

Now, look at the picture up there.  It’s exposed rock.  It’s Georgia.  It’s 85ish degrees F on the ground, but that light rock reflects the sun right back at you.  It was well into the 90s on the mountain.

Girlfriend had to have been hot.

“Next time, I’m not wearing this bag,” she told her friends.

“Why don’t you take it off?” they implored.

“Naw, but I’m not wearing it again,” she said.

“Just tie it around your waist,” they suggested.

“I’m all light-headed and everything,” she said.

And she kept on hiking.  Still wearing her bag.  Presumably still light-headed.

I just can’t quit thinking about that woman.  Somehow, somewhere, she got it in her head that that “sauna” shirt would do something good for her.  And somehow, that information so convinced her that she literally ignored the signs her own body was sending her that it was in danger.

She listened to the marketing message of remote strangers instead of the immediate and acute messages from her own cells.

This is a literal example, but I am pretty sure most of us do some variation of this on a regular basis.  And it’s just got me thinking, what gets hold of us?  Why do we ignore the plain, clear evidence that something is hurting us because of some amorphous promise that it is what we’re “supposed” to do to be healthy?

Folks, I don’t have any answers for you here.  But I do think there is value in asking the question.

2 Responses to “From the Mountaintop : On Ignoring Our Body’s Messages”

  1. on 17 Oct 2013 at 9:40 amCarl Peterson

    So you got to got the Mountain Top (almost) and reflect on what what others are saying. Often I talk to myself, so I am thinking listening to others is much better( and to my own body not my cluttered mind). Getting old is not fun, and so have decided to go see my doc and work out all of my aches and pains. I finally just made an appointment last week, so will see what he has to say. Just read a previous post talking about listening to those who love me, so I think a lot of people are telling me to move forward and take better care of myself. Stone Mountain did not make our list of places to go, but you have me intrigued by your comments, so next time, we will try and fit it in.

  2. on 17 Oct 2013 at 10:19 amKristine Rudolph

    It pales in comparison to the mountains at your door!

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply