A climbing wall. As you can see from the lead image even children can climb this wall.
Little tiny children.
Yesterday my daughter suggested going to a climbing wall in Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand. She said: Give it a try. I said: I am too tired. She said: But you must. I said: I have no shoes. She said: They hire them to you. I said: But they will be smelly. She said: I will buy you some socks. I said: But I am at a good place in my book. She said: Fine then. Stay at home. I said: Wait for me!
At the climbing wall she hired a harness for me (she has her own) and shoes (she has her own of those too). A man came and gave me a deeply mystifying talk on holding the rope properly and parlaying it out and winding it back in and hands over hands and feet just so and it slowly dawned on me that I was to hold the rope as my precious daughter climbed up the more terrifying advanced wall of the building. I felt sure there must be some mistake and wondered if maybe one of the children next to me might not be better qualified.
But it was good, we worked as a team, she climbed – I did not drop her.
Then it was my turn.While she waited, I was clipped on and then she held the ropes and I looked up at the little children climbing the 50 foot high wall next to me and wondered about things. Climb, called my daughter gently. Follow the blue rocks.
And so I took a deep breath and with my daughter reeling the rope in as I ascended, I gently and gracefully climbed the wall. Right up. Then even further. My feet found the toe holds and my hands found rocks to tuck my fingers around and I hoisted myself straight up the wall. It is a little like chess or apple picking. You are always planning ahead, testing the holds, using each muscle to its fullest. Using your mind and your body together – actively. Overcoming fears and testing your strengh. I felt strong and successful and grateful for all the fence climbing and bucket carrying that strengthened my legs and fingers. Then I stopped.
Just stopped. I had two feet firmly on two blue rocks, my hands were resting into comfortable holds, my muscles were not stretched or tired but I could see nowhere to climb TO. I was about four feet from the very top, far away from the ground and I knew for an absolute fact that I was not going to make it. I looked down at my daughter and instructor far, far below and they both nodded encouragingly to me, I looked back up to the top and felt the very real dissapointment of failing.
Use your feet! My daughter called from far below. Her voice whispering up in a curve. Your feet will lift you up. Step up with your right foot. I looked across to the side she was nodding to (she had her hands on the rope ready to catch me if I fell), it was too high, and the rock was tiny how would my foot stay on that and carry my weight and it was impossible to reach – in close approximation to my ear actually. Are you sure? I called to the wall- not willing to risk another look down. Try it, she said.
So holding on very tightly to my two blue rocks with my fingers, I raised my foot high up off its safe ledge, clicked the toe onto the new tinier rock and pushed myself up so my right hand could let go of its hand hold and reach for the next blue rock. And once again I was off, the switch had been thrown, I was no longer beaten and I streamed precisely up the last of the wall and touched the top.
Maybe abseiling next. They have lots of cool jangly gear.
In four more sleeps I will begin to wend my weary way home. But not yet. Soon I will go around the corner to stay with the new bride and groom.
I hope you all have a lovely day.
Your friend in New Zealand.