On a day spent behind a computer screen, madly typing up notes and copying down quotations in preparation for collections [beginning of term exams that don’t count but are indicators of how well I’ve done summer work], I wonder what on earth I can contribute to the digital world of climbing this evening.
Let’s rewind to Tuesday, when I actually went climbing. My goal was to be at the gym that evening at my usual weekly time, but faced with work, I promised myself that I would only go if my vacation essay were in sufficient first draft form. Given my personal unofficial policy – Go Climbing, No Excuses – I was obliged to follow through. I refused to miss a night of climbing just for spending too much time meandering into daytime distraction.
Head still buzzing with Middle English, I headed to Brookes at the end of the day, ready to relax by pushing my body to its limit – a strange oxymoron of a concept, but one that neatly separates the mind and body experiences, or at least a distinction between work and play. Climbing is also a hugely mental sport, and as I worked through some difficult routes all I needed was a bit of extra focus and confidence to complete them, the same key ingredients required for getting through collections.
So now, perched at the last move to the end, mind hesitating with doubt, I must stand up and reach. It seems difficult when I stop to rest – because stopping at all inevitably draws attention to my aching muscles and incites my heartbeat to quicken – but when I’m down at the bottom again and look up it always looks so easy. And perhaps it could have been.