Great Expectations

I am back. I have been here before. Without the sun things look different.

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Clouds hang in the sky with nowhere to go. The weather forecast says tomorrow will be worse, maybe too bad to do the one thing this place is famous for. There is even less hope for the day after that. I read words like gale force winds, torrential rain.

I put on my rain coat and go for the nearest walk.

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It is humid, wet and magical …

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… all the way to the waterfall …

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… and back again.

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I climb over slippery logs …

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… down a muddy slope.

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Wet ferns …

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… and leaves …

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… brush against my trousers, eventually soaking them down to my skin.

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Tomorrow can’t take that from me.

On the next morning the shuttle brings us to the starting point. We step into the drizzle. The driver looks at the sky. It will not get better, he says, and offers a refund for those who want to return right away. Some take it.

The rest of us start to climb. It does not get better. It gets worse. Crouched into the shelter of a volcanic cliff I stuff everything that is sensitive to water into a plastic bag, inside my backpack. I have no illusions what is to come. I ascend in horizontal rain. The panoramic view is reduced to a few meters; barely enough to find the next sign post that marks the track.

The rain gets colder the higher I climb. I know I walk right next to a crater, a few meters from the sheer drop that I cannot see. I have been here before, so I know. Lost to my own thoughts I walk on. There is no shelter. My rainproof jacket isn’t. Nature is making its point. I have plenty of time to get it.

On the other side rain turns into fog …

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… and the wind blow dries my clothes, freezing me in the process.

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Further down I decide to consider this as a unique experience, well worth the effort, teaching me a different perspective on the concept of expectations.

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Nature seems to reward me for this point of view.

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I see things I previously missed …

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… or maybe this time they simply look different.

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I overhear someone incessantly complaining about what she missed, how the weather cheated her out of the wonderful things her friends have seen when they were here, how she could not take the pictures she wanted; how terrible everything has been.

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When I look back …

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… I see how perspective makes or breaks the day. I choose, it made mine.

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