Today was my first day back climbing at Mission cliffs. A few months ago I badly sprained my ankle. I was on crutches for a while and when I did start to walk again it was a slow, painful thing. My ankle remained stiff and its only recently that it regained the range of motion that it once had.
I am an amateur climber but I can see the appeal. Staying aloft, clinging to the wall, requires that you focus entirely on this one task. There is no room for daydreaming or stray, idle thoughts. Each step is like a puzzle element. You calculate the moves that are both safe and that will lead you on a sure path to the top.
I am tempted to write more here about my younger days, but I will do so later. Surfing had this same appeal. Beyond you and the ocean there is nothing else. For the moment, the rest of the world seems futile and immaterial and this thing, you and your surfboard and the unsteady waves and the lurking depths beneath you, have the capability of infusing your mind with a sense of meaning.
Die hard surfers have the same sometimes vacant look of serious climbers. They discovered another world and part of themselves now resides there. This world is not so serious when you realize, when you know deeply, that it is only one of many.