A wide shot of the Andes Mountains with a snow covered Mt. Ausangate in the center. The 2020 team of eleven are hiking in the foreground on a beautiful day.

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The winter of our discontent? A mountain climber’s tale
28 Feb
By 2020Visionquest
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Poster of Quinn and Randy climbing a mountain with the following words superimposed: Climb Your Mountain. Trust, Commit, Persevere, Build Your Team, Believe and Achieve, Reach Your Peak Potential.“Now is the winter of our discontent” is a quote that was popularized by William Shakespeare in Richard III, and also the title of John Steinbeck’s final novel. Yet is applies so eloquently to the Covid-19 year most of us have now experienced. In his novel, Steinbeck gave us: “It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.” I certainly understand the notion of treasuring so well the things which become lost to us. This was true in my transition from fully sighted to total blindness. Likewise in my journey into the wheelchair from 2004-2006.

While I have, as of yet, not found the means to regain my sight, it is not a loss which wears me down. Certainly, I have my moments of frustration with my blindness but I have chosen with sufficient comfort to put my focus on all the things I can do with a confident belief, creative problem solving mentality and the hard work of perseverance.

Emerging from my wheelchair was a glorious gift which used some of those very tools and a lot of support from my medical team. In appreciation of the gift of walking which had been lost to me for nearly two years, I eventually began my journey as a hiker. The mountain trails gifted me with so many experiences and friendships which are now a fundamental part of my life. Yet this Covid-19 “winter” has inhibited my ability to reasonably hike. This presents some difficult aspects for me and especially as the anniversary of my single season winter 48 quest approaches.

I believe in the signs suggesting the Covid-19 challenges will be changing and soon enough allow me some freedom to connect with many important parts of my life. I will be running with my human guides, being matched to my new and highly anticipated canine guide and, yes, getting a chance to return to the mountain trails I have missed. I am reminded of our poster and the lessons of my past which suggest to me that in the midst of this challenge, this metaphorical mountain I still have to climb, are the keys to easing the trail. There will be an especial sweetness to those temporarily lost and soon to be restored things in my life. I need simply focus on the work necessary to get me there and to ensure I am prepared for the mountains ahead, literal and figurative. I need to believe, problem solve and continue to do the work on my way to climbing my mountains. I think this is true for most of us.

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