Gibraltar Rock, Santa Barbara

It takes gear, time, and friends to climb. Once the mountains start calling, they don’t stop, and when you learn the language of the rocks, you not only hear it’s whispers on warm summer breezes, but you feel it in the ache of your hands and body. It becomes a craving, an almost unhealthy addiction, and it is impossible to run. So you don’t.

Then you do, but all of the running is away from everything else deep into the home of the rocks. That is where you’ll find her. That wild woman that feels and reasons with equal gusto. And when you find her there with wild hair and a dangerously alive fire in her eyes, you’ll feel things that you’ve been afraid to. If you dare, she will let you, and she will hold your hand tenderly the whole time while pulling you deep into the heart of everything. 

Climbing is not exclusive. Despite popular belief, not all climbers are exquisitely fit and sleek Roman gods. Though, naturally, the field is full of such gods, every shape that a body climbs in can be found on the rocks. It is the puzzle solvers and challenge seekers and nature enthusiasts that inhabit these wilds. And I’m not saying everyone is good, heck, a lot of us aren’t, but at least we are out there. As climbers, as friends, as humans, we flee to the hills to slow down and unwind with babbling brooks and trees and birds. If we get exercise while we are out there, then it’s a bonus (you always do whether you realize it or not).

Remember that woman you found a few paragraphs ago? Yeah, she is still there, always there. She is anywhere you leave her or want to find her in the woods. She waits for you while you’re at work, eager to play again. She loves climbing because it takes everything in her to accomplish each climb. Her eyes, dancing up the moves barely before her hands. Her feet, seeking and finding each new step to push and lean and pull from. Her shoulders, tense and relaxed and strong. She has been waiting for you because she is the parts of you that are still wild. When you run out of breath, she pushes it back into you and takes you higher. She is the animal of your body that needs to move and love and explore. 

She climbs because she can because you can. If you doubt her, you doubt yourself and the parts of you that you have let wander away. When you see them floating in the little stream of your mind, bend down and take a look. What has come between you and them? What excuses do you make that keeps you from her? What stops you from climbing the mountains? And if climbing isn’t your dance, what is?

This is a blog about finding her, you and the dance of the two. Climbing is where I found her, and where I run to be with her. She, for me, is my true self that I lose sight of when I walk down the path of “shoulds and should nots.” And so this is for you too, as we find her and us and each other somewhere. After all, this is what it means to be human. 


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