The terror of going for it
There are the days where the weight barely hangs, the ease fresh and palpable; days we live for. More frequently, the difficulty accelerates as a growing snowball. The gravity strengthens, so we choose to sit. Breathing, letting it pass. The fear returns, but it is instead a physical sensation - a shortness of breath, a quickening of the heart. A leg tapping incessantly. In its physical form we find its true nature; it takes hold but cannot stop us. Not yet at least; the leg continues invisibly sewing.
The terror of commitment lies wholly in the prospect of it not working out. To give ourselves in to something whose outcome we can never perceive, yet with some vague notion of what we desire, takes a leap of faith. Yet as light exists in contrast to dark, it is through fear that we find courage. Perhaps this is the brink, a place gradually approached our whole life, unforeseen. Sometimes with purpose, sometimes with avoidance. The next step is the hardest to take. Is this the top of the abyss or below the cliff? The end or the beginning? What lies ahead is the place of dreams, and also of nightmares. Traveling, climbing, trying to find a way to make it work.
Our whole lives, we are brought up under the assumption that our paths ride more or less parallel, that we should do this, we should have that, we should be the other. Should should should should be what? At some point, there arises an immense excitement to delve to the depths of desire. American dreams. As we grow up, we pile our baggage, physical and emotional, crushing our hopes and talking ourselves out of our fantasies. Slowly but surely, a paralyzing fear takes over. What will we do for food? What will we do for money? Where will we sleep? What will our family and peers think? All of these wills and, ironically, our own will diminishes. Instead of asking ourselves what we are willing to sacrifice, we find ourselves concerned about a future we can never know. Bags lost, unspoken languages, gravity sucking us in.
The last few summers, spoiled rotten; working in Yosemite is a dream in waking life. The seasons full not because of the climbing but rather the inspiring people there, the friends made and the bonds strengthened. Still, summer is not the bouldering season, and it is a constant struggle to maintain a satisfying base level. It is hard to accept because there will never be a satisfying base level. Perhaps this should make it easier to accept. Still, every winter, attempting with technique to compensate for a lack of power, trying to get back to square one. It is absurd to complain about living in Mecca half of the year. Timing is everything, despite the wonderfully long stay. Climbing in the off season lets you off the hook. Just blame the struggle on poor conditions. Unfortunately (or perhaps very fortunately), excuses are just that: excuses. Enough of those. There are two ways to increase your strength-to-weight ratio.
Northern lights, glimmering green and dancing. Their sway is more spastic and jolting than expected; their energy reveals the would-be invisible motion of the gelid wind. The plane gently descends. Ears regularly popping as though they were blinking, as if they can hear the massive silence of the aurora's photons. The slurry of exhaustion and excitement of adventure blend together in unknown anticipation; their purest form.
Now is the time. Words used to sweep away worries about the past and future. The terror of trying and not having it work out is ever-present. The greater fear of not trying lurks ominously in the shadows yet is no longer paralyzing. Time to take the leap.