It’s Sunday morning. I had thought maybe of retracing my steps to my childhood church, twenty miles away; but the moment passed. I will stay in the village.
In fact, I am locked in my father’s house; he may or may not have set the alarm before he went to bed last night, so I dare not open any doors.
Instead tonight, before dinner, I will make my way downhill to the village church for Evening Prayer. My mother’s grave marker will be the last thing to greet me before the open door.
It is never easy, returning. In part, this time, that is because my legs have been destroyed by the mountain. It was strange; we both remembered clearly the frightening and unforgiving ridge. We had both forgotten completely the amount of full-on, full-body rock climbing it took to get that far, and more on the other side.
I think that I managed it more easily this time than decades ago. I was less afraid, for certain. I have learned, somewhere along the way, to trust my body, having got me this far. I have learned that what will hurt and destroy and throw me down is less easily predicted or mapped out than 35mph winds on a narrow ridge. I have learned, not to tempt fate nor to accept it, but to work with it.
I am in no more pain, coming down, than last time; but that is not saying too much.
The prospect of descending the steep hill to church, let alone coming back up, is daunting; but there is no easy way out. It is Sunday morning, and I am locked in my father’s house, waiting.