The day after Christmas we headed to the Snowy Mountains & Great Dividing Range for an overnight adventure to climb Mt. Kosciuszko, which is the highest peak on the Australian continent. (And, just to be clear, it's the tiniest of the seven summits and probably the only one I'll ever scale. And the overnight was in a motel, not huddled on the side of the mountain in tents.)

What a glorious day. Walking under blue skies, a light breeze, and sunshine with those five dears was a highlight of the year for me. We've been separated so often this year, it felt like such a blessing just to be together, chatting and laughing and teasing our way up a mountain. I wanted to stay there forever.

It put me in mind of this quote, which I have posted before but can't resist doing again:

"You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know"
~Rene Daumal, Mount Analogue

And so, today we descend from mountain peaks and joy-filled holidays to mountains of laundry and putting away Christmas (and sunburns!). Soon Lauren will leave and it will be four again. But. We will remember the summit and hopefully will conduct ourselves in the lower regions by the memory of what we saw higher up. And we'll get there again, eventually.