Mountain To Climb

November 27, 2012
By , Port Washington, NY
You need only to look up to find me.

At a young age, there was only one place I would be. Clambering up the tallest trees and swinging from limb to limb like a wild child. I would march about the yard and with youthful energy, jumping and bounding around. If I fell, I would get back up again. Then I would climb the cabinets to find butterfly band-aids to cover my scraps and bruises. One time, as I was told, I even tried to climb onto the roof of my house. Nothing would stop me; the only path I saw was up.

Life takes on a whole different meaning when you are clutching to a stone wall, a hundred feet in the air. The only option is to hold on despite the constant protesting from your sore muscles and sweaty hands. You wondered if your loose harness would hold or the thousand year old rock under your fingers would stay put. When I learned of rock climbing, the danger got more real but it also became more interesting. It wasn’t just about climbing but technique, tools and precautions. The steps taken before climbing were extensive and dreary but they were necessary, as I would learn.

I was with a few people hiking through Bonticou Crag; a hiking trail through the Mohonk Preserve in New York. Soon enough we were nearing the cliffs, looking back I should have noticed the rock shards scattered across the ground. I got high enough for it to hurt and then I flew. You could compare the incident to free climbing without padding to land on. So I fell and I fell hard. Then I fell again, this time high enough for the rope to go taut, leaving my body hanging like a marionette doll.

After falling so many times, I soon became worried about how much I could take before I could not get back up. So I abandoned the rock wall for awhile. I left my chalk and shoes in the corner and let the thousand year old wall dust some more. But as much as I avoided it, I knew my feet did not feel right on the ground.

In order to get over my developed fear, I returned to my first instance rock climbing. My father brought my sister and I to the Table Top Mountains. After the hike, we encountered a large crevice in the ground. Between the pitiless crack was a large boulder that was clearly unstable. As a dare, I was told to climb over it to the other side, so I did. Although it was a risk, it taught me something very important. You cannot live life without a little risk or else you will never discover what is on the other side.

I could have walked away from the wall but instead I went back. I wanted to improve, discover, and stand on top of the world. When I am not on the wall or in the air, I still keep one thing in mind. You can only go up from here.

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