Climbing harness, chalk bag and EBs

Tomorrow morning I will place my climbing harness, chalk bag, locking caribiner and EBs into a box and ship these precious parts of me to my daughter Alexis.  When I first set eyes upon her father, all of these items moved with my breath and were drenched in my sweat.  My brother and I were working our way across the country climbing cliffs and jumping off of roofs.  At the time I met Michael, my brother and I were in Boulder, Colorado.  These items have known the great outdoors, never having been in a climbing gym.  Time have changed.  I am older now, too old to tackle the 5.10 climbs I once proudly checked off in my journal.

I hesitated, not wanting to admit that I’m not strong anymore and the chances of ever doing five fingertip pull-ups on the molding trim of a doorway are next to nil.  A smile begins in my heart and works its way to my face.  My goals are different now.  I want to be a better painter.  I run five miles at the gym each morning and practice yoga so that I can carry my paints through a wilderness or across the seas to a foreign land.  I want to express my impressions of the world in paint.  When I was a climber, my time was devoted to making money to travel and working out, morning, noon and night.  Occasionally, I painted.

Another distraction that I was dedicated to was playing the flute and then the fiddle.  Then there was honky-tonk piano and blues guitar.  Oh yes… and clogging.  A huge distraction was making handmade note cards and captured-digigraph collages of natural objects.  I loved every minute of all those distractions.

I will send the package off to Alexis with a sense of relief that I have let go of one more collection of “things” that clutter my life because of the stories I have attached to them.  The climbing gear does not have to hang in my studio for me to be warmed by the memories of the adventures they shared with me.  My hope is that they will help Alexis be safe while on her own adventures.  They will carry with them my love for her and the memories of the good times I had with her father.

P.S.  The truth is that Michael and I met in a parking lot in New Paltz, New York several months earlier, but neither he nor I remembered that meeting until much later in our relationship.  That detail wouldn’t have worked into my story very well, so I conveniently forgot it at the time of the telling.