Perseverance, By Neil Walsh


By Neil Walsh

We all face challenges throughout our lives, and sometimes we aren’t always ready to face them.  I've always been the type to be afraid of dangerous situations, and when I was eleven I had to do just that.  My family went on vacation to Grandfather mountain in South Carolina; it was during the summer annual family road trip.  This was the first mountain I had ever climbed. Being from Baton Rouge I hadn’t seen a real mountain before in person, so I was quite nervous at the idea of falling off of it.

Due to how grandfather mountain is so special, I quickly forgot my initial fears. The mountain was very steep at certain points, so it had ropes and ladders installed onto the path to make the ascent up the mountain possible. I had a blast climbing the ladders and ropes as I scaled the mountain side. I have always enjoyed climbing rocks so for a while I was having the time of my life scapering up the mountain.  Eventually, my family got to a point where the only direction to go was up, and the only way up was climbing three ladders in a row. I hesitantly started to climb up this part of the mountain, I was petrified by the idea of falling down my fears had suddenly come back to me.

After climbing the first ladder I had to shimmy across a small precipice which didn’t help my growing fear.  I had the classic looking down moments of instant regret. The distance down was just dizzying, and it seemed that one wrong step could send me plummeting to my death.  In reality there was a very low chance of me falling, and it would've only lead to some broken bones, but I thought I was going to die. Before I knew it, I was climbing back down the first ladder, refusing to go any further. I decided to turn back and head back down the mountain; the challenge of such a steep precipice was to daunting for me. I left with the bitter taste of disappointment in my mouth.

After that, I didn’t really think about going to climb to the top of that mountain ever again, but two years later, when I was thirteen, my family went back because me and my brother had a lot of fun before with the ladders and ropes.  This year I was determined to climb higher than I did before, and get to the top of the mountain. We eventually got to the same spot where we initially stopped last time, those precarious ladders. I cleared my mind of doubt and decided that I wouldn’t let myself talk me out of this. I started the climb. I began slowly, putting one hand after another feeling the hard wooden planks of the ladder, hearing the groan of wood under my weight.  I was afraid; I closed my eyes and kept on climbing knowing that one wrong step, could get me seriously hurt.

After climbing all three of those shaky ladders we finally reached the top of the mountain.  A feeling of relief released all of the pent up tension I had during the climb. It was a bright and chilly morning, the wind was howling and the air was thin.  And even though the wind was blowing, I could feel the sunlight warming my body. The view was spectacular − made with bright hues of green and blue. After enjoying the summit, I started the much easier climb down. And as the car was driving away, I looked with satisfaction at grandfather mountain, the place where I had learned to overcome my doubts.

This experience showed me not to despair after losing faith in what you're doing, you can always try again.  Many of us don’t believe in ourselves, thinking that we aren’t good enough and just aren't made out of the right stuff for doing the job.  I even think that way sometimes, but conquering my fears like that helped me to remember how believe in oneself can be extremely important and you can do almost anything you put your mind to.  Everyone has so much potential and as soon as we realize it we can do some amazing things. Every now and then we need to take a leap of faith, put something on the line, have fun, climb a mountain, otherwise you will just have a unsatisfactory and dull life.  If you don’t rise to action or live your entire life in fear then life can be pretty meaningless. We have challenges in our lives for a reason, they help us to grow and to make us stronger by giving us a push in order for us to big and inspirational or even something small like just climbing a ladder.

Virginia ArcherComment