Whenever the sun dropped and the blue sky came up, my father and I used to climb the mountain near my house. Walking together, my father and I used to have a lot of conversations through which I learned lessons from his experiences. He always stressed to me, "You should have objectives and capacity like the mountain."
This has largely influenced my life. Without such mountaineering opportunities, we couldn't have had enough time to spend together because my father was very busy himself. I believe mountaineering is really beneficial. It gave me time to talk with my father and to be in deep contemplation as well as develop my patience. I loved traversing the top of the mountains, getting away from the routine of city life, the noise and the pollution, and being able to breathe fresh air.
One time we climbed Palgoly Mountain, one of the highest mountains in Korea. It was so challenging for me because I was only ten years old. During the first few hours of climbing, I enjoyed the fresh air, the birds singing, and the beautiful dances of butterflies; but as time passed, I got a pain in both of my legs. At that moment, I wanted to quit climbing.
Actually, I hated it at that moment, but my father said to me, "Spring is a season when everything comes to life again. The mountain and field where we are standing are embroidered with flowers and trees. You can always see a beautiful sky at the top of the mountain, but you can't see it before you reach the top. You can always enjoy the scenes of many waterfalls, temples and countless peaks and valleys at the top of the mountain, but you can't see it when you are halfway up. Only there at the top, can you embrace all of those things, just like in life."
At that time, I was too young to understand his thoughts, but after that, I got new hope and confidence. Finally, I found myself standing at the top of the mountain. And there, I could see the whole of the sky, which was as clear as crystal.