Better The Higher You Climb

Some days, you really do feel the past and future come together and touch each other. Today was one of those days for us, as Dennise and me went back to visit “Kasha-Katuwe, aka Tent Rocks,” here in New Mexico.

You may recall that back in May, I blogged about our 20-year anniversary. Even though the actual date was then, our celebration really doesn’t end until now, as Dennise and me head back to Taos/Santa Fe. This is where we spent our honeymoon, and where we came back for a ten-year anniversary trip.

Here’s a pic from the ten-year trip in 2003:

Our 2003 Trip
As I did with the anniversary blog, it’s interesting to look back and see just how much has changed. But, not just in twenty years. In just the ten.
In 2003, Dennise had yet to run for judge. Her election would be a year and a half later. At that moment, almost nobody imagined that a Democrat could be elected judge in Dallas County.
In fact, so outrageous was that idea, that Dennise had lawyers she respected tell her, “Dennise, do you want to be a Democrat or be a Judge?”

She’d say, “I want to be both.”

A year-and-a-half later, much to the surprise of many, she was. And now, she’s one of the longest serving judges in Dallas County.

In 2003, we hadn’t yet broken ground on Northaven’s new sanctuary. It was still just an idea. I was deep into weekly meetings (sometimes two hours long) with our building committee. There were plenty of dreams, but we wouldn’t break ground for another two years, and wouldn’t move in for 18 months after that.

In 2003, Maria was five. She’d hadn’t even started kindergarten.
In just a few months, she’ll start her sophomore year.

So, lots has changed. Like I said in the other blog, it sorta makes the head spin.

Soon after the above picture was taken, I wrote a song about the hike we took that day.

In 2003, we took the hike up to the scenic overlook and, frankly, at least I was a bit out of shape. It’s not a terribly strenuous hike, but it took a bit out of me that day.

But, all the way up, folks were so encouraging..

“The view’s SO great up there…”
“It’s better the higher you climb…”

It didn’t take long for this songwriter to jump all over the metaphors in that.

But, the rocks themselves are also metaphors…the way that canyon is being reshaped each and every day. In fact, we say a park ranger today who was pointing out boulders that fell during last week’s rains. It’s obvious that the place looks much different than it did ten years ago.

So, between the metaphor of the climb, and the metaphor of the changing canyon, I think I came out with a pretty good song.

Hard to believe it was ten years ago.

Anyway, as you can hear, the demo’s pretty much done and will be a part of that new CD I keep talking about.

Today’s hike was definitely different. We’re ten years older. And yet, in many ways, we’re in better physical shape today than we were back then. I know I’m quite a bit lighter, and I didn’t find myself gasping for air quite as much.

So, I’ll close with some words from the song, which really encapsulate what I said at the start: that today was a day when the past and the future come together and touch each other.

In fact, I suppose when I wrote the song back then, these words were really about a day just like today:

Today at the top

“Happy Anniversary, baby,
Let’s pause for just a few,
Catch our breath and maybe
Breathe in deep this whole wide view.

A touch of wind and rain,
Reshapes the rocks so firm.
And though we both will change, 
Let’s keep the lessons we have learned.

And then, many years from now,
Down around some future bend,
If fate and time allow,
We’ll come back to this same trail end,


And as our lives unwind, 
And as others join this path,
We can tell ’em what they’ll find,
If they can work to make love last.

Cause it gets better the higher you climb…”

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of Kessler Park UMC United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. Previously, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas for seventeen years. Eric loves to write on topics of spirituality, social justice, music/art and politics. The entries on this blog reflect that diversity of interests. His passion for social justice goes beyond mere words. He’s been arrested at the White House, defending immigrants and “The Dreamers,” and he’s officiated at same sex weddings in his churches, in defiance of what some believe is Methodist teaching. Eric is an avid blogger and published author, and 2017 recipient of the prestigeous Kuchling Humanitarian Award from Dallas’ Black Tie Dinner. (Human Rights Campaign) Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He’s a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named “best judge” by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County, and is currently the longest service district judge in that district. She was re-elected for a fourth term in 2018. They have the world’s best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. Find links to Eric’s music-related websites, at the top of this site’s navigation menu.

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