Just the next clip

I look up at the rock, suddenly more menacing. I look at the bolts, laid upwards in a zig zag pattern.
“Oh, I don’t think I can.”
“Less thinking, more climbing. Get tied in.”
So I tie the rope into my harness. “On belay?”
“Belay is on” he replies.
“Climbing.”
“Climb on.”
“Wes, this looks different. Too hard.”
“Just clip that first bolt. No thinking.”
Clip.
“Well now I’m not sure what to do next.”
“Start moving. Get the next clip.”
Clip.
“Bad clip, Laura.”
Unclip. Clip.
“That was scary. I didn’t like it.”
“It’s behind you now. Don’t let it get in your head. Make the next clip a good one.”
Clip.
Clip.
“I see bolts, can I be done?”
“Nope. Just give me the next clip. Don’t look so far up.”
Clip.
“Really, Wes? This looks too hard.”
“Get the last clip to your waist and then we will decide.”
Clip.
“Yessss…..”
“Just get to the next one.”
Clip.
Clip.
“Now climb up over the top to the anchors.”
I then climb up and over, clip into the two anchors on top, then (after much discussion) back down over the ledge once more to unclip my gear as he lowers me.
It was a scary feeling unlike any other. My head was so clear, each tiny move upward felt so purposeful in reaching the top- but I wasn’t thinking about the top. It was the next clip that mattered most- the next chance to protect myself from a fall as I traveled upward.
It was my first time lead climbing. And it was much needed.
There are lots of rock walls in front of me every day. Parenting, career, goals, Wes being gone for work nearly constantly. Lately, instead of pushing forward, I’ve been in give-up mode. Last week I wanted to quit my job, CrossFit, cooking, and brushing my hair in the morning.
This week he’s gone again and I’m just thinking “Next clip. Less thinking” when I get overwhelmed. I’m still overwhelmed and exhausted. It isn’t removing that. But it’s helping me get up in the morning and do what needs to be done.
Clip.

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One response to “Just the next clip

  1. Beautiful philosophy – some days we can work on the 5 year and 10 year plans. Other days it is just focusing on the now and not worrying about where that will lead you.

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