Don’t Look Up

I went climbing yesterday for the first time in a year. I’m not especially talented at this sport in the first place, and the year off didn’t exactly sharpen my skills. I stared up at my destination, finding hand- and footholds here and there until I hit a wall. I saw no way around it (or, in this case, over it).

I gave up and gave Ben the “let me the hell off this rock” sign about halfway up a route I had climbed two years ago without problem. When he kept shaking his head and pointing up, I sat back in the harness and kicked my feet into the rock for support. If he didn’t want to let me down, he could hold me suspended in air as long as he wanted. He finally gave in and brought me down slowly.

Then in his quiet, patient way, he gave me this advice before I tried again: don’t look up at where you’re going—just focus on what you’re doing in each step. Before you know it, you’ll be at the top.

And I was. I did it twice just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.

It’s been almost a year since I blogged, too, if you exclude one post last winter. As time has passed, I’ve thought a lot about what direction to take this thing in and it hasn’t gotten me anywhere. So I’m going to stop thinking about it and just take it one foothold at a time. It beats being suspended in air.