There isn’t any grand scales where some giant or being piles out even amounts
of challenges for each of us. No “one” is weighing or ‘divvying up’ orderly levels
of pains or gains. We either choose to sludge on through the muck or we go hide
in a cave or we give up.
We all have something, a burden, hurt or major catastrophe in our past, present
or future, to overcome.
It is in the metaphor of mountains we must climb to ‘beat our odds’ that can take
us to the top, the precipice, to enjoy the view from there that keeps me going.
Everyone in the world has heard of the pilot who may or may not have been
troubled or overwhelmed by his own personal hurdles. They are speculating
he had been suffering from depression. It is hard to tell, looking at his photo
while sitting on the edge of the bridge in San Francisco, where he had come
to America to take flight lessons.
In the Alps, Maria and the Trapp Family Singers, scrambled and climbed to
escape Nazis, this same place where the airplane crashed.
Have you ever read, “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers,” by Maria
I read the book, recommended to me by my German born Grandma who was
once Paula Haller, married to my Grandfather, who was Walter Mattson. She
had her own ‘escape’ story from Germany. Throughout her life, insisted we
think of her as “more Austrian than German.” She felt shame for what Adolf
Hitler and his regime had carried out against Jewish people, as well as the
Many times, throughout my life, in fifth and seventh grade, later in college, I
read Maria’s story of her stepchildren and her husband overcoming extreme
temperatures and great fears of the Nazi army coming after them, to go to
America. Where her family grew, prospered and sang of their travels and life
across the country and overseas.
Anne Frank’s story in her diary, one we may have been ‘assigned’ as an
English assignment touches my heart, even now. Each person who has had
a special book or story told them, where someone like the man. Louis, in the
book, ‘Unbroken,” may use their stories to help fortify themselves for ongoing,
everyday battles in their own lives.
When I hear songs about the mountains, they are not all about pain and
anguish, some are about love and others about journeys.
But, in this 50th Anniversary year since the musical, “Sound of Music,” came
out, I hear a resounding faith and joy in the first words of,
“The hills are alive. . . with the sound of music!”
I hear it even more in the religious song, “Climb Every Mountain.”
Do you hear the mountain messages?
Do you know deep within your heart that you, too, can ‘escape’ your pains?
Do you believe in the magical and healing power within yourself to overcome
hatred and prejudice?
The list of daily problems the world’s masses of humanity face could ‘take us
down’ into the depths of hell.
We must try for our families, for our neighbors and friends and most of all,
for ourselves to ‘carry on,’ move forward wayward sons and daughters.
I have a list of songs, mostly mountain songs, but of course, Bob Marley’s
song, “Everything’s Going to Be Alright” is right up there in my “hall of fame,”
full of motivation and strength, along with fun and playfulness. Since we dare
not succumb, not get dragged down. . .
One way or another, we can make it to that mountain top.
~ “Climb Every Mountain,” from “Sound of Music.” I like Shirley Bassey’s single
of this, along with the actress, Peggy Wood’s singing it.
~ “Sound of Music,” title song from, “Sound of Music.” I like Julie Andrews, Lady
Gaga and Carrie Underwood singing this song. All different versions of traveling
musicians in the stage musicals poured their hearts and voices into this one,
over all the years.
~ “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” sung by Marvin Gaye.
~ “Mountain and the Sea,” love that Ingrid Michaelson, every song is joyous!
~ “Rocky Mountain High,” sung by John Denver.
~”Sound Mountain,” recently heard this on my radio, sung by the band, “Of
Monsters and Men.” This is an indie folk band, formed in Iceland in 2010.
(Another song, “Little Talks,” is interesting, too.)
~ “It’s the Climb,” sung by Miley Cyrus.
~ “Ooh, Child,” originally sung in 1970, by the family soul group, Five Stairsteps,
now is being played on an insurance commercial, sung by the lovely Jennifer
Hudson, an “American Idol” alum.
~ Louis Armstrong’s song, “La Vie En Rose,” as a lesser known beautiful song
but of course, “A Wonderful World,” is such a fantastic song. (it is particularly
poignant in the Robin Williams’ film, “Good Morning, Vietnam,” while bombs are
I would be misguided if I did not include the song, “Battle Hymn of the Republic,”
and the mighty fine speech, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave titled,
“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop:”
“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life, longevity has its place.
But I’m not concerned about that now.
I just want to do God’s Will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain.
And I have looked over.
And I have seen the Promised Land.
I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we as a
people, we’ll get to the Promised Land.
I’m not fearing any man!
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
If you know a song which lifts you up- – please feel free to add to this short list
I gave you.
Where do you go for solace?
In Lancaster, Ohio, when I was facing divorce, with a 5 year old, 3 year old and
infant baby, we climbed up the steep path of Rising Park’s hill. My children used
to like to run around on the top, with my eyes firmly placed upon their bodies,
never leaving them from sight. We even would hold hands and look over the
precipice, down upon the city two of my three children were born in their
Lancaster-Fairfield County Hospital. My parents accompanied me on the last
day I lived there, first having a picnic down in the park, feeding the ducks in
the lake and then, holding my Dad holding Jamie’s hand, my Mom holding
Carrie’s hand and I having a snuggling baby, Felicia in her backpack. I felt
her chubby liittle legs swinging and gently tapping on my back. We looked
over Lancaster, happy we had been there, but also for me, my heart filled
with trepidation, we were leaving this city behind. We moved into our two
bedroom apartment before school started in 1986, Delaware, Ohio. I have a
fabulous friend who meets me halfway to Lancaster, next year it will be our
30th year, so we can talk about our families, lives, loves and “old times” two
times annually. We will need to have cake.
Where do you go for solace?
Who do you lean on, when you need someone to boost your energy for your