Sunday, June 26, 2011

Getting Back to Climbing, Week 22: Short and Sweet

This was just a simple week. 

I climbed at Island Rock twice this week; on Tuesday and Thursday.  It was nice to be back.  I started to build my circuit; a group of boulder problems that I could do easily as a warm up, or to pump out at the end of my climbing session. 

John taught a class on climbing anchors Thursday evening, and it was a wonderful surprise when he showed up before I left Thursday afternoon.  I showed him my projects... and couldn't use any of his beta.  His climbing style is currently so different from mine; he is all arms, and I am all feet.  However, he did find that my beta on one problem was easier than his; that 'give and take' is always nice, but it is so infrequent since he is a much stronger boulderer than I am.  

Things were simple.  I climbed.  I progressed.  No fireworks.  There are times when that is all we need... just to float with the flow of the stream.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Getting Back to Climbing, Week 21: Just Me

The Kid and I went to the rock climbing gym on Tuesday afternoon, just before a gnarly heat spell hit New York.  It had been three weeks since I had climbed, and during that time the bouldering cave had been stripped, and reset.  So there were all new problems to play on.  None of the climbs were are marked with a grade (level of difficulty), which is cool with me.  There is Zen in climbing just for the movement of climbing; getting caught up in how hard you climb (or don't climb) can take away from the joy of the movement.  One of the reasons that I love rope climbing (versus bouldering) is that I am alone in my space, while I am climbing it is just me.

I went out running for the first time in over a year on Friday night; uh yeah, on a Friday night that is what I did... lame and boring, or not?  All week, before I went to sleep at night, I planned on an early morning run.  It never happened.  Friday night, Our Son was asleep early-ish, and John and I were hanging out.  I told him I really wanted to go for a run, but it was too late, already dark; he didn't think it was too late... so off I went.  I have never run at night.  Chili Peppers and Rob Zombie serenaded me while I ran.  I suck at running; I am terrible, but there is something that I love about it... even though I can't run fast or far.  I find myself in a simple, quiet space... except for the music that I always want super loud.  The other wonderful thing about running... is that it is only about me.  I have no clue how fast (or slow) I am compared to others, and no idea how far I run.  It is all about me, and what I do... not compared to anyone else.
Sunrise at our Island in Canada
August 2008

Lately, I have been thinking about how we seem to always compare ourselves to other people.  Sometimes this is a very good thing; when you see another accomplish something (big or small) and it motivates you in some way (big or small).  However, I think, that more often, comparing ourselves to other people makes us feel like we aren't quite good enough.  When I run at night, or climb un-graded boulder problems alone, there is no one to compare myself to... the experience is pure.  It is just the experience.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Getting Back to Climbing, Weeks 18, 19 & 20: Time Passages

I have found myself pensive for the past three weeks.  The passage of time, and change, has been dominating my mind, for obvious and not so obvious reasons...

Two weeks ago, I climbed at the gym on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I finally sent one of my projects after several weeks of working it; it was the last two moves that kept shutting me down, but on Wednesday I sent it first burn.  Beyond that, I was still on a plateau.  I had bruised one of the tendons in my middle finger, and every time I grabbed a jug it sent a searing pain through my hand.  All of the joints in my hands had been hurting, and my elbow was flaring up again... so I was relieved (thought I hate to admit it) when Brittany (The Kid's sitter at Island Rock) was going to be away for a week and a half.  Taking a few weeks off from climbing would give my various aches and pains time to heal. 

The other night at home I was in the dining room listening to John get The Kid ready for bed.  He got out of the bath and John was asking him to get his pyjamas.  Suddenly, I realized:  that is the guy from the rock climbing gym.  This man chasing our son around to get dressed for bed: I met at him the climbing gym.... and here he is, in our house, and he is my husband, and we have a spectacular son.  That is that guy from the gym. We met when he was eating garlic pasta, and spouting climbing beta; somehow that meeting has brought us to the place we are now.  For some reason it struck me that evening.

John & Me
One of the first photos taken of us

Me, The Kid & John
We heard that one of the quintessential beach bouldering problems on Long Island was gone, two weeks ago.  Apparently someone built a fire under one our huge beach boulders on the North Shore, and the heat caused a large section of the rock to flake off and crash to the ground.  'Ride the Rail' is gone. Rocks seem so strong and impenetrable, but, over time they become fragile.  The family drove out on Monday (Memorial Day), and indeed the original climb is gone... forever.  This was the first outside boulder I ever climbed on; could it have really been eight years ago?

However, the most profound marker of the passage of time was the death of my grandfather, my Popop.  He was ninety-three, and lived an amazing life; but his body failed and he missed my Nana who passed away in November.  He was my last living grandparent, and it is the end of a security that I have had my entire life.  I was very fortunate that I made it to Pennsylvania to see him on Thursday; I got the chance to talk to him, and he was so excited to see The Kid.  He passed away on Friday around noon, and Tuesday would have been his 70th wedding anniversary... I believe my Nana and Popop spent their anniversary together... somewhere.
My Popop
Our Island in Canada

My Popop & The Kid (in his dragon suit)
November 2010

There are the changes of life... some profound and some so subtle that we don't even realize they occured until we look closely.  Taking a break when my body needs it, the course that a relationship takes, a tremendous rock crumbling, and a soul moving on to another dimension... all marking the passages of time.