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Understanding Myself

Submitted by pusherem on 2004-10-07

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As I walked up the dusty and beaten trail my body surged with excitement. ďAnother half mile and Iím golden,Ē I thought to myself. The sun beat down very hard that day but it felt great to be outside again. The sounds of nature flooded my ears like a dam bursting at the seams. The melodic noises were like music to me.

The birds singing, the leaves brushing against one another in the harmony of the afternoon, it was wonderful.

Just when I thought the moment could not become anymore perfect, I saw the rocks. Gigantic monsters of granite waiting for me like huge grey eyes ripping into my soul. I set down my gear, gathered my thoughts and began to put my chalk bag on and then my shoes. One hand touched the rock, then the other, then in one movement I picked my feet up and I was off. The only thing keeping my from the top was the rock. Hold by hold I pulled myself up, keeping my body in unison with the rock until I reached the top.

It was good to be back climbing again. For three months I had been off of the rock because of a climbing related injury. I have been climbing for about three years and I have learned many lessons from my experiences.

To me, climbing is more than a sport. It is a lifestyle. The dedication it takes to commit to the summit, the physical demands of the rock and the mental toll the climb takes on you cannot be found in any other activity.

I started climbing in a rock gym as many climbers do. Slowly I learned the technical terms, knots, and the technique needed to be a successful climber. Sure it was fun but the gym was just not for me. I had a burning passion to become one with rock; to move over its face like water and to cling to it like moss. I needed more.

Little by little I researched the local climbing areas and began to venture further and further away from home. Day by day I fell into a deeper love with nature and more specifically rock climbing. My past experiences have shaped me into the climber that I am today. All of the long days hauling all 165 lbs of me up and down trails to climb cliffs paid off. Climbing is way more than a physical workout. It goes beyond the skill and endurance.

When I climb I let everything go. One cannot climb a rock with the stress of their job on their mind or else they will get nowhere. You have to let everything go and focus on the rock. A person has to let the rock move under them as they move over it. When I finish a climb, when I am standing on the top of something that has been on this earth since the beginning of time, I feel filled with an energy that could almost be considered a type of wisdom. With each summit comes a new horizon and a new opportunity to explore.

Sometimes I develop an attitude with myself and become almost conceited. I feel like I know what the rock has to offer. In truth, I know nothing and it must stay that way. I need to keep a beginners mind and keep myself open to what the different climbs have to offer to me. Climbing has taught me more about myself and more about life. Rock climbing is an ever changing challenge and is a passion that I hold on to.

The rocks leave scars on my body that tell stories of success, defeat, and emotion. The rocks paint my hands with blood and blanked them with blisters reminding me that I am only one person. Some days I feel great and I can almost feel the rock crushing and giving into me. Other days the rock spits me off and tosses me about like a three year old kicking around a ball.

It all comes down to this:
I climb because I can and because nobody is stopping me. I climb because I want to know more about what is on top and what lies deeper within me. Climbing is my form of expression; itís my way of life. The rocks on which I climb teach me about me. Every sunrise is a new opportunity for me to myself.


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