Yes We Can

Entry by: KMaidmarion

6th February 2015
One Step at a Time

I have a mountain in my house. It is carpeted in a mossy green. Nothing fancy - no swirls of colour or complicated weave. It is made up of fourteen steps and runs from my living room, up through the ceiling and onto the draughty landing stage beside my bedroom door. It has two sturdy handrails - one for each arm. Through the window are valley views, lit by summer sunshine and lakes shimmering in sunset orange and reds. I try to enjoy these when I gasp for air. In frames are photos I took in my youth - panoramas from steep-sided Cat Bells and vistas taken when precariously balancing on Striding Edge.

In those days, I took my instructions from Sir Alfred Wainwright, who, through his detailed guides, directed me onto the right path, and sheep trod. Warned me of sucking bog and gorging river. Many times I had urged my legs on, heavy in walking boot and loaded with rucksack. 'Just around the next bend' I had persuaded. 'Just over the next ridge.' My feet danced on shivering stones and my hands clung to angry faces cut into the rock. An eyebrow here - a nostril there. 'Just one small step at a time,' I had chivvied. A cairn at the top would tell me that I'd reached the summit and another Wainwright could be added to my memory bank.

Now, almost 50 years later, I stand at the bottom of my stairs. My own personal mountain before me. I look down at my wasting legs - legs that resemble suet pudding and feel like blancmange.

'We can do it,' I remind them. 'Yes we can. We can climb our Everest. Just one slow step at a time.