Not so bad once your in

Since I was in the neighbourhood, I thought I’d take the dog up Silver Star mountain for a hike.

 

Since I was in the neighbourhood, I thought I’d take the dog up Silver Star mountain for a hike. The peak is just 25 km from where Joan and I were looking after our grandchildren last week.

I knew there were great cross-country ski trails up there in the winter. I thought they might make good hiking trails in the fall.

Indeed, they do. Trees have been removed, ground roughly levelled, undergrowth trimmed back.

The hike would have been better if the weather had cooperated, though. Bright sunshine flooded the valley below. But the mountain had its head in the clouds. Cold fog wreathed through the forest, condensing on the bushes, the leaves, the long grass…

Almost immediately, the trail ran through a boggy patch. Water seeped into my shoes. Long grass and low shrubs brushed against my legs, soaking me to the skin up to my knees.

My pants clung to my shins. My socks squished. My shoes turned into mobile wading pools.

I almost turned back. Then I remembered, from working in the bush doing timber surveys years ago, that only the first penetration of icy water to the skin is a shock. After that, wet clothing insulates like a swimmer’s wet suit. That first layer of water has already been warmed by the body. Any additional cold water has to displace the warmer water that’s already there before it can reach sensitive skin.

My recollections were correct. Once I was wet, it wasn’t so bad, after all.

Over the next hour or so, as the dog delightedly explored this new territory, it occurred to me that hiking in wet clothing is like many other things in life.

Swimming, for example. I cringe, getting into the water. I keep as much of me as I can out of the water until the last possible moment. But once I’m in, it’s not so bad after all.

I approached parenting much the same way. I wanted children; I wanted to be a father. But oh, Lord, not yet! I was not ready for waking in the middle of the night to comfort a fretful infant, for wiping tiny bums, for having a burp drool something slimy down my back….

But once I got into parenting, it wasn’t so bad, after all.

The analogy might even work with faith. Danish philosopher and theologian Soren Kierkegaard stressed “the leap of faith.” He didn’t mean suddenly affirming a complex creed that ties down all loose ends. Rather, he argued, we can’t slither unconsciously from denial – whether by deliberate choice or by apathy – into acceptance of a divine presence whom we can know and who can know us. We have to leap, and trust that someone or something will catch us.

Many people, I guess, fear taking that leap. They’re afraid of becoming fiery-eyed fundamentalists. Or of losing their friends. Or that being religious might spoil their fun….

Sometimes they’re surprised to find, once they’ve made the leap, that it’s not so bad, after all.

 

Jim Taylor is an Okanagan Centre author of 17 books and several thousand magazine and newspaper articles. He welcomes comments; rewrite@shaw.ca.

Just Posted

First annual Share it Forward program huge success

Food banks across Western Canada received more $250,000

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

Water quality advisory in Kelowna lifted

After a month of warnings, officials say testing shows water quality is good again

Severe thunderstorm watch issued for the Okanagan

Possible rainfall rates of up to 25 milimetres in one hour.

UPDATE: Car engulfed in flames in Winfield

Firefighters were able to extinguish the burning car quickly

Humans locked in for love at Kelowna Shelter

BC SPCA Lock-In for Love hopes to raise $25,000

Fireworks and fires over a half-metre banned Friday in Kamloops centre

B.C. Wildfire Service banning to category 2 and 3 fires in Kamloops Fire Centre at noon Friday

Rescued Oregon family simply unprepared for adventure, RCMP say

Agencies now helping the group of four get to their destination in Alaska

Large B.C. tree dies after possible poisoning

Police and District investigate after large chestnut tree’s rapid decline

Canucks release 2018-19 season schedule

Vancouver to face Calgary Flames on Wednesday, Oct. 3, for home opener

VIDEO: Luxury Home and Design Show opens with Italian flare

Event set to run Friday to Sunday at BC Place in Vancouver

Small new charge on BC Hydro bills goes toward new crisis fund

The new fund aims to help customers who find themselves in financial emergencies

UPDATED: Crown appeals B.C. polygamous leader’s acquittal in child bride case

James Oler had been charged with taking his underage daughter to the U.S. to marry her off

Fake cops ‘arrest’ woman, steal $6,000 in latest CRA scam

Vancouver police urge people not take calls from anyone saying they’re from the Canada Revenue Agency

Most Read