I've been thinking a lot about a poem shared with me by my own high school mentor. I haven't read the original book that it comes from, but I shared this same poem with another student as we debated experience and perspective the other day.
Poem from ‘Mount Analogue’
One cannot stay on the summit forever –
One has 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 and sees no longer
But one has seen!
There is an art of conducting one’s self in
The lower regions by the memory of
What one saw higher up.
When one can no longer see,
One does at least still know.
So, is it better to have climbed the mountain or to never climb? Is it better to take risks and adventures--to take a chance to see from the summit or precipice--or to remain below?
This is also a reminder that our experiences change us forever. We can never "go back" once we have experienced something, considered something from another perspective, or met someone that has changed our worldview.