A plateau high up on the south face of a mountain, looking to Spain across a flat valley, smoke from the towns and villages, make a disc of yellowish haze. The silence is strong, wood against wood in the trees and beak against wood from the birds. Occasional and sporadic gusts of wind rattle the dry leaves left on the branches, the snow removes all other sound, and my presence is neglible as is my sense of any self.
I drove across the mountains from a grey, damp and cold, through the tunnel into bright sunlight and warmer temperatures. The journey is only short but puts a distance to the struggle and darkness that sometimes descends.
My father is ill, and no matter how much light fills the landscape, the darkness can only ever fade.
Five weeks in; tested out on my power endurance project on my board, made it a few moves past my previous best efforts. So I guess it works. I can now do many more press ups, a few more pull ups, but I have still haven’t given up drinking too much wine. Maybe that’s the next step.
In the second week of this programme and each session has involved dealing with a sensation that can only be described as mild nausea. I remember this feeling, years ago when I ‘trained’, now its clear that for years I have only been putting effort into the things that I enjoyed. For example, hanging off and moving on small holds I like, thus I do lots of it and think I’m training. This last couple of weeks I have been doing amongst other awful exercises; ‘planks’, they are horrible, what is their to enjoy from passing from fatigue to feeling sick, heart pounding, red in the face and vibrating from head to toe, basically nothing.
Photograph taken on a lonely hitchhike somewhere North of the Arctic Circle, Norway late 1980’s.
I looked in the woods and I found a very promising unclimbed boulder. I came back with brushes and a ladder and cleaned the moss and dirt from the boulder. Revealed beneath was a prow of granite, hidden in the trees, a thing of interest a thing of desire. On my second visit I began to piece the moves together, complex yes, but everything seemed to be in the right place, every move was powerful and interesting. I’d found a beauty.
It’s now a project, it’s harder than I thought. Thirteen moves long, none easy a mid way crux and a difficult finish.
Ohh but the joy….