Sunday, July 20, 2008

reflections in the water


Sometimes, it takes some time to catch up and let the memories flood my mind; reflections in the vast pond of experiences, metaphorically speaking, I threw a stone and watched the ripples break until once again there was stillness. I've been home for a while and what remains is the memories and a perspective that comes full circle. This for me, is a time of growth; I look out of a port hole of opportunity as we fly together as a family now, heading to a place that has always held special meaning to me; Virgina beach. The moon is nearly full as we break the horizon, and I'm equally distant. City lights far below illuminate, I wonder why any of the experiences I have had these past few months would be any more important to those that are far below this tin can, I try and feel each moment as I fade into stream of consciousness. I'm happy that I'm going to see my family, I'm also a bit sad for some reason. Perhaps it's because I know that this pursuit of mine is so personal, and in that it can sometimes seem so selfish; I'm looking forward to sharing and I'm struggling to find the means of doing so. While I think about the significance of these travels in my life I often feel negligent to the people that surround me and support me, so I'll try and explain in the way I have always found expression; through written words. These are my reflections.



We wake up: the morning air is still cool and damp, the clouds are swirling once again but the sun is making it's way through the thick canopy of fog. We gear up and walk to the edge of the Verdon gorge a buzz of excitement surrounds my friends and I. It's a quiet walk through the wet trees but we will finally be climbing, each of us connect to that feeling and because we have all done this so many times each of us prepare in our own way. I have a twinge of nervousness, I feel a bit scared today and I know that it's natural. Fear keeps you alive, safe and it also provides what I feel is the most important result to why we climb, harnessing that resonating energy of our souls and making it work for you and not against you. We walk the delicate line, hopping between the fluted limestone columns that top the gorge; a breeze is swirling from the bottom 1000 feet below just like the nervousness bubbling in my stomach. We make our way to the anchors and begin our decent. My attention has shifted and no longer am I concentrating on the nervousness, but now I'm engaged in the experience, my confidence gives me strength as time narrows to the moment. We hit the anchors after rapping in, a quick game of ro-Sham-bo ensues, my rock has crushed Laurens scissors, and Laurens scissors have cut Whits paper; I'll climb first.



The route is steep, and my intimidation of crashing on the belay before the first bolt creates a bit of apprehension in my movement. Safely I climb, and safety comes. I love this feeling I think as I blow the chalk from my hands and quickly shake my arms to keep them fresh. What ensues is a battle, that gives way to the reasoning behind this situation. I climb because it's fun, I also climb because this is the element that creates my being. As my pace quickens so does my heart, and with that my breath, I can feel the nervousness disappear as I take control over my body and my mind, I inhale and connect with the wind. This fight continues but so does my determination to continue as I find myself. Like a basketball player that sees the rim ever expanding or a golfer that finds the field of vision narrow as they play on and engage, I search for that zone in climbing, but it is something that really finds you when all thoughts of fear and doubt disappear into rhythmic movement and a connection with the path of holds in front of you. Fifteen minutes latter it's all over and I belly flop onto the flat summit of the gorge and pull my fiery feet from my shoes. I stretch my toes and air them out over the void below me, I'm intensely connected and I breath, my eyes shutter and draw down and soft, a smile cracks and I'm alive and drunk with unexplainable happiness that comes with the safety of being on the rim again; my narrow vision that kept me pasted to the wall opens it's self to a flood of emotions as the adrenaline and endorphins begin to subside, I look around at the position that I'm in, perched a thousand feet above the valley floor, a clear blue river flows and creates an ambient sound that calms me down. I'm think deeply about my life and this world around me.



It might sound cleshay, but climbing connects me to everything around me, and if there is anything that provides me a greater perspective about what is important to me it comes with the aftershocks after a great climbing experience the epicenter of my heart.