Ongoing Moments: A series in which teaching staff and students from the English Department respond to a photograph of their choice. [Read all entries.] [Revisit the “Interrogative” series.]
Recently I had the opportunity to go to Penvénan, a small town in the Brittany region of France with some friends during my graduation trip. Together we visited various outlying islands by kayak. We decided to clamber up the rocks and enjoy the panoramas of one of the islands. As we had left our shoes on shore, we had to ascend the steep path up the mountain barefoot. Doing so was not an easy task for me due to my lack of experience in hiking. We had to be cautious with every step we took so as to avoid a sprained ankle or being cut by sharp stones on a steep scree slope. I was rather doubtful about climbing to the top of a hill since I am slightly acrophobic. When I was 7, I fell from the upper level of a bunk bed. The accident left me with noticeable scars and I have been scared of heights ever since. If you look at me carefully enough, it is not difficult to spot the little scars on my forehead, right under my fringe.
“You have to do it. I’m leaving, with or without you,” my friend urged me with a few giggles. After a moment of hesitation, I summoned the courage to climb. I have to admit that the climb was not easy, especially when the weather was windy, but it was totally worth it for the view from the top. The panorama was indeed electrifying, as you can tell from the photograph.
To me, the moral of the story is that the seemingly impossible can be possible as long as you keep trying, and it doesn’t matter how heavy you fell in the past. It’s the motivation to pick yourself up that really counts. As the Irish dramatist George Bernard Shaw put it, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”. I am truly grateful to Martin, for all he has done to encourage me to surmount the hurdles in my mind. This is definitely a trip to remember.
Epilogue: Martin said to me, “Louis we have to go back in 2 minutes or else our kayak will be gone as the water rises. Then we’ll be Ciao.”
Louis Chung is a BA graduate in Stylistics and Comparative Literature (Class of 2015). [Read all entries by Louis.]