“Why are you ruining my silk ties?” my Dad asks, as I am tying them together to make a rope.
“These seem to be the strongest ones and I don’t want to fall,” I said.
I am six years old and just wanted to climb, apparently my Dad did not understand. This is where I met my first love, her name is found high above the trees; hair like the wind, eyes like the sky.
My connection to climbing is one beyond mere sport, but it is how I think, how I move, how I am me. However, at times I must step back from what I love in order to see why it is such a large piece of who I am. A great teacher of mine once said, “If we cannot venture off by ourselves without the one we love, it is best to let them go.”
In many ways there is nothing like pushing our entire limit of fear while our last piece of protection is dwindling twenty feet below, only passing into the unknown, and then having the volume turned down on events that before may have seemed important, but only coming to understand they meant nothing at all. Or, climbing half way up a project and working the same route over and over until we are so exhausted that we have only one more try left in our bodies. Then miraculously, when we are most tired, and our minds become quiet we flow through what seemed so far away, and understand that it is only when we let go do we ever truly hold on to what really matters.
Everything that I hold to be important in my life I have learned from climbing. Is the fear that I am going through real or is it just my imagination? What is important right now, and what can wait? Can I trust the person belaying me, of course I can? Should I just walk away, or perhaps get myself into a mis-educative danger?
Bruce Lee once said that a martial art is, “Honestly expressing ourselves through movement.” For I believe that spoken language can only reach so deep into our souls, but that most communication comes from body language. Climbing is how I express myself; no words, just moving, because that is how I think; attempting to understand the rock rather than trying to conquer it.