Then: Alishan


Close your eyes. Imagine a place far above the clouds where the altitude draws out each delicate breath into that of a war against self.Where the panorama taken by the eyes coincides with the struggle the body endured those last moments. The view overrides all thoughts of the mind and a silence is generated. Just breathe. Imagine. Enjoy.

Receiving the call that offered an experience to spark in me a life that craved more adventure than I knew possible. Alumi was heading out to Alishan with his family for a morning hike up the mountain and in true fashion invited his adopted daughter to attend. Moments of self consciousness and nerves arose as my understanding of the Chinese language was minimal and my ability to communicate unintelligible. Yet when living on the polar east to all your western known ways the only acceptable answer is “yes”.

A truck, that appeared to have endured all this world has to offer, now climbed mountain after mountain carrying the magical Taiwanese trio and the anxieties of an American girl.  As my apprehensions rose so did my ability to rapidly flip through the English-Chinese dictionary.  Growing altitude broke way to my desire to express the simplest of sentences, “Wow, the mountains are beautiful”.  “Beautiful” became the word of the weekend, yet this overused utterance did not touch the complexities of the words I desired to mold together to offer proper describe to the intensity my eyes endured.

To put a picture in words is a talent I have yet to grasps fully. I desire to describe the climbing wall of greenery that appeared tangible as the twist and turns inclined greatly, yet I am unable to give  the vastness of these creations justice. Like looking out into a boundless ocean and seeing perfect peak after perfect peak desperately singing the song of the surfer. Yet these waves carry the paint shimmering emerald green. As the sun draws itself awake from behind each white blanket before hiding its shine under an ever changing cover of clouds. Breathtaking.

Nighttime was quickly approaching as my curiosity of sleeping quarters danced among the other questions held in my mind. Whether I brokenly verbalized my questions or not, the answer would not vary, so I chose to “wait and see”. Noodles were served and curling up together in the back of the covered bed kept the warmth of that intensely cold night at bay. The bed of Alumi’s truck quickly felt like home as Sandy curled up to my side and began teaching me the colors in Chinese. To my surprise 4:30am came quickly and sleep was surprisingly sound.

The steam of the coffee being brewed at the back of the truck perfectly represented the cloudiness of my mind. A quick cup and off we went to conquer what proved to be my first true mountain top experience. Exhilarating.

Alive. Literally above the world. I was connected to a beautiful family, nature, life, and fully engrossed in this experience given to me through a manifestation I conjured. A lesson in “yes”. The time I now  call upon as a vital example of taking a leap even when fear tries to overpower all other emotions.

Alishan sparked in me my love of taking risk of the unknown and trusting the process.

Just saying “yes” when the experience arises.

For this I am forever grateful.

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