Monday, November 23, 2009

climbing and heights

On Saturday, the lovely Eric and I went rock climbing. Rock climbing is not something I normally do. To be precise, it's not something that I'd ever done before Saturday morning. But, Eric makes everything sound like fun. He doesn't gloss over the difficulties, not exactly, but there is a definite gleam in the eye to urge you toward the conclusion that your day will be better for having done whatever it is than not.

So, climbing.

There is something incredibly strange about watching a person cling to a vertical wall and locomote across it with thoughtful pauses every now and then to consider the next perch for hand or foot. It's not a pattern of movement that my eye understands. The arcs and levers are much flatter; things pull in instead of stretching out. It all feels contained and taut, and there's a sort of thrill in the practicality of it as someone creeps higher and higher.

I felt like I was trying to speak another language, and failing to understand how it worked. It was fun to mumble the sounds though, and I have always enjoyed heights. When I was young, I used to go to the park with my friend. We would climb trees, and edge out along the branches, and jump out of them, falling through our arms and legs and folding into the grass. It was one of my favorite feelings to fall along this unchangeable route where nothing but gravity had a firm grip on me, and then to hit the ground with the satisfying jolt of reacquaintance.

Hello, here we are again.

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