Sometime back in May, I passed the halfway mark of The Grid.
So much has been happening over the past month that this milestone came and went without my noticing.
Other milestones distracted me, good ones and rough.
A college graduation of sorts, to start. Despite a miscalculation in credits, a canceled hockey season, and classes over Zoom, the oldest earth-boy finished his educational journey and is off to the Big Apple to chase dreams.
In lieu of a march across the stage – there wasn’t one – frowny face – he and I walk the campus visiting old haunts and marveling at the time in-between. Four years ago, his convocation was also a bust when we had to rush him out of the line to the hospital, deep in abdominal distress. The absence of pomp on either end seems meet somehow.
Later, I’m weepy driving his stuff to New York.
I’m not sure I can handle another departure.
Back at the ranch, his brother, more gifted, shall we say, in the organizational arts, redecorates their room. I suppose a new area rug can say I miss you as much as a hug.
Then there’s the other boy.
Five years is a long time, but we are blessed by the full funding of his scholarship. The radical generosity of friends somehow makes this milestone more bearable.
The final push is actually a party where I eat too little and drink too much (Jesus. Take. The. Wheel.), but the joy of seeing his myriad friends and hearing how they are living their beautiful lives enthralls. Maskless and giddy, I toast and tear with those who knew him well.
Then there’s the littlest one.
So like her mother in sass and smarts, her milestones race by between visits and I can’t keep up.
And somehow, in the midst of it all, the season changed.
576 is a lot of peaks.
Month by month and year by year, I’ve been chipping away at them, faithfully filling in the form, until, somehow, unacknowledged, the midway comes and goes.
In many ways, The Grid has saved me.
It’s the place I go where I can always depend on God showing up.
He’s everywhere, of course, but sometimes just more everywhere than most.
Sometimes He’s veiled and sometimes on full display, but He’s never, ever not there. It’s easy to lose oneself in all His showy splendor.
Halfway in The Grid is 288 4,000 footers.
It’s meant hiking in negative degrees, rain, wind, fog, bugs, and heat.
It means planning routes, nutrition, hydration, footwear, and gear.
It means checking trip reports, weather updates, forest road closures, parking lot conditions, and water levels.
It means leaving my itinerary with the kids because I mostly hike alone. Texts from trailhead, summit, trailhead, and home are what have kept me safe; or, if not safe, at least findable, should that become necessary.
I don’t take stupid chances because there are some milestones you just don’t need to rush. Mistakes are part of the process, but I mitigate as best I can.
I want to make it to 576.
The thing is, we may not know when we are halfway to something.
It’s easy to forget when you’re in the thick of something craggy that you could be halfway through it – or even a wisp away from the terminus.
But He knows.
And that’s enough for me.