photo take at the 'base' of THE CRUX on Heart Mountain
CRUX OF THE MATTER
Sunday July 12, 2015
“The purpose of battle is to attain the greatest heights within your own limits” – Yukoto Kishiro
My limits need re-stating, evaluation and my bar needs to go higher.
One part of that mountain is something I can learn to conquer. While I have no desire to descend Heart Mountain again, I need to climb an obstacle I couldn’t handle yesterday.
“Please excuse Johnny from gym class today …”
Testing ourselves, challenging something new, something difficult, is fundamental to learning, to human curiosity. Most adults (I’m a charter member of this crowd) don’t challenge themselves very much – insufficiently challenged. Or, rather, insufficient response to those challenges.
We’ve all participated in this internal dialogue (physical things are obvious, and so many of the excuses seem so plausible. It’s hard, I’m not so young anymore, I tried that before and couldn’t do it … etc. ), excusing ourselves from tests of what we’ve never tried, what we fear and what we don’t feel we could do or do well. We fear embarrassment, we fear being exposed to others as weak, afraid and incapable.
As I sat there, observing where I’d been stopped by my own body and mind – message driven home for me was that so many non-physical climbing opportunities await me. Every day, giving up choices and chances because they seem too hard. Shrinking from challenges because they are too difficult. Or simply because they appear too difficult.
Having responded to significant difficulties or challenges before doesn’t excuse me from class.
Doesn’t excuse me from future challenges.
Should prepare me, make me aware, urge me to ready myself for tougher cliffs to scale …
P.S.: yesterday’s Heart Mountain adventure – exhilarating frustrating amazing knee-challenging ankle-testing heart-thumping amazement. Both ascent and descent afforded little time for vista-gazing as footwork is critically important. My introduction to scrambling/rock-climbing is one I’ll likely repeat – but for the moment my body is screaming ‘never-again’. Many thanks to AK for setting a pace I could handle and putting up with my whining on the way down. I didn’t reach the summit (my ability/fear factor and fatigue caused me to pause an hour at ‘the crux’ while he summited). Five-six hours of climbing/descending left me embarrassed at my own dodgy fitness while amazed by that experience – learning so much more about AK and his love of climbing (he no longer keeps track but estimates he’s done 200-300 mountains in 50 years – he started at 6!) was pretty cool too. He has offered, when I’m ready, to take me again. Thanks friend. This morning my body is saying ‘never again’ but that is temporary. I don’t know if it will be soon, but certainly ‘something easier than Heart Mountain’ has much appeal – but I know, in the great scheme that mountain is a stepping stone to a more challenging one. I’ll let you be my guide!
written / published from Calgary, AB
morning walk: 20C/68F, very cloudy, thunder getting closer … walking slow, my left ankle and knee were the most trouble … with just about every part of me hurting I couldn’t keep up with Gusta’s desire to sniff the world at high speed
Good luck Mark! I hope it is a great hike for you and your friend!, MK, Calgary, AB
Hope your climb goes well...Impressed with that knee of yours!, SF, Lethbridge, AB
Mark, Mountain Climbing - amazing – we are about the same age and I cannot even contemplate the concept of Mountain Climbing. Hats off to you. Thoroughly enjoy your articles – they continuously challenge one to think about their own presence, etc. – but Mountain Climbing for the second time is unthinkable for me. Have fun and be safe, LG, Markham, ON