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Sitting in a hut at the top of a mountain

At the top of a mountain having an unexpected conversation with strangers — it’s here where I came to a powerful conclusion.

My legs are aching. My feet are damp. My heart sings with a sigh of relief.

I’ve made it to the top and I can see the small wooden hut where I can finally rest my legs.

When I arrive, I reach a boarded-up wooden hut which sits aside a lake layered with snow. Overlooked by mountains and peaks in every direction.

And behind me a landscape that will always be imprinted in my mind. Lakes and trees and mountains. Blue and green and white. A wide expanse of natural beauty that’s enough to take your breath away.

At that moment, I stopped to absorb the scene around me and thought: “ Bloody hell, it’s nuts that I’m here.”

The view of trees, mountains and sky from a wooden hut.
The lakes and trees and mountains. The blue and green and white.

Trekking up a mountain in the snow-topped Rockies is not where I thought I’d be in May 2020. I had arrived somewhere I wasn’t expecting. In perhaps one of the strangest times in modern history. And at that moment, so darn thankful for where I had ended up.

Sitting in a hut at the top of a mountain I realised that life had led me along a path I did not plan for. I was in a space I never thought I’d be in, at a time I could not have foreseen, with people I never thought I’d meet.

Yet up until that point, my life had been mapped out. School, then college, then university. From 5 to 21 years of life. Then my first year out in the adult world and a path begins to forge — without my planning.

“It’s nuts,” I laughed since one of my goals when coming to Canada was to let go of the reigns. To relax into life. And without trying, it happened. I suppose I have Coronavirus to thank for that.

Taking a moment to myself, I hear the voices of others echoing around me. And around the corner comes a father and two daughters carrying buckets. With each step their feet sink into the slushy spring snow, the young girls covered up to their torso.

A gloomy mountain and snow covered lake. Surrounded by dimly lit fur trees.
The peak overlooking the hut.

As they reach the hut, I soon realise that it’s their own. Reaching the bordered-up windows with a key, we introduce ourselves.

“Is this your hut?” I asked.

“Yes, it’s a cafe in the summer. It’s always totally full. You must come back when all the snow has melted. It will be a little quieter this year.”

After showing how delighted I would be to come back, he opens the door and shows me a peep inside. Chairs on tables and stacks of plastic-wrapped water bottles lit by his head torch.

The charming wood-clad walls unlock my imagination and I see myself sitting on one of those chairs. Drinking a hot tea and eating a warm cookie that the girls insisted were delicious. It reminded me of restaurants and huts in the Alps I was lucky to visit as a child.

This unexpected interaction was all the more special due to the times we now live in. In the grips of Coronavirus, I felt blessed to have met new people and talked to them like the world beyond this hut wasn’t falling apart.

The father then led his daughters onto the lake to find some water beneath the ice. It was an inspiring sight of life going on. Families doing as they do. People thriving nonetheless. Despite the global pandemic that is changing the world as we know it.

I was reminded, there and then, of the simple pleasures of life. We may not be able to fly across the world, visit our favourite pubs, or hug all of our loved ones. But we can still spend time in nature, make memories with our family and take time to appreciate the small moments.

Sitting in a hut at the top of a mountain I found myself grateful for where life had taken me. And grateful for the joys in life that persist — once you stop and take the time to appreciate them.

Sitting in a hut at the top of a mountain was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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