Mid-way up Croagh Patrick, I stopped to remove a stone from my boot.
“Are you going bare-foot?” asked a woman resting on a rock, her smile was wry.
Offending stone removed, I put my boot back on, “No way, do people really do that?”
She nodded, “Some still do.”
We had a socially distanced chat before I set off again, “See you up there,” I said.
“You will, If my bad knee holds up,” she shouted after me.
Almost at the top, I hit the wall – a literal wall of rubble.
Losing my footing I fell, grazing my arm and shaking my confidence.
I wobbled with vertigo and doubt, ‘Go back down,’ I told myself.
But I thought of the woman, ‘If she can make it half way with a bad knee, I can make the top with two fully functioning joints.’
I carried on.
When I made the summit there was scant reward; such was the cloud cover all I saw were shapes in the mist.
So, I sat down, slugged a Lucozade and basked in the achievement.
Rested and replenished, I stood up – and saw the woman emerge through the cloud cover.
Delighted to see her, I exclaimed, “You made it!”
She finger tapped her smartphone, “I’m WhatsApping my son to tell him.”
Message sent, she looked at me and beamed – “I’m 68.”
I hadn’t noticed, nor considered her age.
I was struck by her POSITIVE energy, but more so something else – her PRIDE in her AGE.
She inspired me; and I was about to tell her so but stalled for fear I’d sound patronising.
Instead, I smiled and wished her a safe descent.
Age-negativity is endemic in our society; to meet someone so energised and age-positive was a TOTAL INSPIRATION.
If anyone knows the woman with a bad knee who climbed Croagh Patrick on Tues, September 15, please tell her she’s my absolute GOAT, (Greatest Of All Time).
As told on Twitter by Gerard Smith