My last day in Colorado with some of my daughters–two had to leave–was spent freezing my tushoomies off.
This Florida gal went hiking in the mountains. With snow and ice. And very full latrines. But that’s another story.
After our detective work for all things wedding, we had some time before the rest of us had to leave. Courtney, who’s gone all green and outdoors now that she’s a transplanted native of the state, suggested a hike by St. Mary’s Glacier.
Ice. Lots of thick, cold ice. Beautiful sun-bathed landscapes. But cold. Really cold.
We began our climb. One that Courtney guaranteed us was easy. Piece of cake.
Reality: Any time you go from sea level to 6,000 or 7,000 feet straight up, cake has nothing to do with it. Heavy breathing. Pausing for air. Sweating in 35 degree weather because of exertion. But no cake.
So we climbed and slipped and slid up the mountain and came to a remarkable view of sun-dazzled ice and snow-covered peaks.
I’ve never really seen a glacier. Thick ice that goes forever. All I wanted to do was slide on it. Walk on it. Crawl across it if my feet couldn’t stay under me.
But then we saw the sign. This wasn’t a maintained recreational area. It wasn’t some place they actively policed or took care of.
It was nature in all her wild glory. Beautiful. Amazing.
The sign suggested–strongly–that no one should go out on the ice. That walking on it was dangerous. That there had been fatalities as a result of people not paying attention to the warnings. Serious words. The threat of death was obvious.
But as we climbed above the glacier, we saw people walking on the ice. Gliding across its jagged surface. Completely ignoring possible problems. As if the signs didn’t exist. (Melody, up above, was crawling on a patch far above the danger zone. Slippery little dickens.)
We’d seen the patches of water where the ice was weak. Where melting had begun. We could see it from where we stood. What we saw confirmed the warnings of the signs.
We commented about folks not paying attention to posted warnings. As much as I wanted to walk on that glacier, the possibility of falling through the ice into water colder than I wanted to imagine made it a moot issue.
How many times in life do I not heed warnings? Not just the written signs, but the wisdom of others who know better than I do. Those who’ve lived longer, who’ve experienced life and know things that only come with time.
King Solomon talked a lot about fools, those people who refused to learn from their mistakes, who wouldn’t listen to anyone’s advice but their own. Those who were doomed to repeat their failures because of their own arrogance. Those who didn’t heed the signs.
“The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.” Proverbs 12:15
I know there’s a lot I don’t know. I want to grow in wisdom, but I know that takes learning. And listening.
And choosing to heed the signs.
*This is a line from a 60’s era song. I get it now more than I did then.
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