This. This is it, I thought, though I didn’t really know what “it” was.
From where I stood on the summit of Morgam-Viibus, the rolling hills of Lemmenjoki stretched out for miles and the magnitude of what I had just done (in that moment, in the nine days leading up to it, in these four months in Finland, in the past year, in the past six years, in my life) crashed over me like the sand and fury at the bottom of a wave. Annukka and Jooperi sheltered behind some rocks below, and I knew that this time I couldn’t blame the tears in my eyes on the wind.
Our path to this moment was the pinnacle of my journey, and it was far more difficult and beautiful than either of us could have imagined. We struggled, we laughed, we argued, we sang, we cried, we learned, we lost the dog, we found the dog, we conquered. We never, ever took the easy road (though sometimes we tried).
I have wrestled for days to choose the right words from the ones rolling around in my heart, my head and my journal, but none of them are quite ready to come out. I wonder if I even found them, if they would sit obediently on the internet. Maybe not. For the first time, the fact that I am writing a book about this journey feels like sweet relief.
For now, all I’ve got is the top of Morgam-Viibus.
The song in this video, “My Silver Lining” by First Aid Kit, became our theme song. My ukulele rendition can be downloaded for free here. May it keep you company in your own travels.