Table Mountain has become synonymous with Cape Town as an iconic and recognisable feature of the Mother City, hence I like to think of ‘her’ as our wise old grandmother.
Aside from all the obvious exercise benefits of having such an adventurous playground in your backyard, the reality is that she serves as a beacon to all new and directionally-challenged Capetonians. When I first moved to Cape Town I used to get lost regularly but could then figure out my intended direction with the help of the mountain. That was not the only time I benefitted from her ‘maternal’ nature!
Ancient civilizations believed certain mountains had sacred powers to heal or provide answers on life’s most complex questions. There are even biblical references to leaders going into the mountains to pray, meditate and seek answers. I must admit that I have felt something close to meditation when going for a run in the mountain after a stressful day: The quiet almost serves as a buffer from the outside world; the beautiful fresh air, the salty breeze of the ocean on my skin, the rhythmic sound of my shoes on the pine needles and my eyes focused on the trail. This is the place where I can reassess my day and work through unclear thoughts. I even try to imagine breathing out the negative and inhaling the positive!
The reason I know there is something to the ‘power of the mountain’ story, is that I have never returned from a walk or run in the mountain feeling worse; I might not have solved the dilemma I then struggled with but at least I came back feeling peaceful and secure that the correct solution to my problem will be presented at the right time. It’s almost as it I went up the mountain to present my problem to my wise old granny where she listening, nodded knowingly, have me a long, loving hug and send me back down with instructions to go to bed early and sleep on it.
I think there is a life lesson to be learnt here: Although it took her millions of years to morph into her current shape and form, she is constantly changing, evolving. Maybe she sheds a rock face, sends water down a different ravine to feed the plants or coat herself in lush greenery after a generous bout of rain. Humans inherently like what they know and know what they like, so we are not necessarily designed to like or encourage change. However, change is a rewarding and generous visitor; she tends to leave you richer, fuller and more confident than before.
So this is my challenge to you, do something that challenge you at least once a week, if you’re brave enough even once a day!
As you might know, Table Mountain is in the running to become one of the New7Wonders of Nature. The New7Wonders will be announced on 11 November 2011 and we need your help to ensure our place in the history books. If you are living in South Africa you an SMS “Table” to 34874 (R2 per sms and you can sms as many times are you like). Alternative, you may vote on www.votefortablemountain.com.