Sunday, July 04, 2010

A Summer Day...

In a fit of madness,
We abandoned the chance to watch that all-important match
Between the Germans and the Argentinians,
And opted instead to don our very own runners
Going rock-a-climbing
One beautiful, summery day.

There were just the five of us in the room
Looking up the three-storey blue-grey monstrosity with awe.
Everyone else had gone to the pubs.
The friendly trainer smiled at us,
And helped us put on our basic harnesses,
As we pretended to be sportive and, yes, committed.

There were different levels, grades and routes:
Some with fewer grips; others had a protruding cliff.
We'd done the baby climb last time,
And came to better our chances at this second try.
Flexing sinews and muscles in surmounting a wall
Is better than banging our heads against the proverbial wall.

When you go and grab that grip and make a start,
Much of your previous strategizings' been blown apart,
You have your fingers, your wrists, your arms and your legs --
Sheer brute strength to hang off the side of a cliff.
But you need also to engage your brain and think on your feet,
And most important -- that simple will to live.

I went up past the red line, easily enough
I was only just getting warmed up.
Next I started losing track
Of my right and left and where my foot could find a tread.
There was an unfortunate two way dialogue going on
Between my confusion and that bloody wall.

But then all my family started
Shouting up loudly at me and commanded:
"Right foot on pink. No. THAT pink!"
"Grab that green piece on your left. That's the one! YES!!! "
As well as all the "Well done!"s and assorted encouragements.
And suddenly, that overhang, I could actually heave myself past it.

But unbelievably, the worst was still to come
Even though I had only a smooth stretch in front.
I felt my arms and wrists being completely overcome
With exhaustion, and my will was soon undone.
Yet far, far down below, the trainer piped up,
"Go on, you could do it! Just try standing straight up!"

"No," I said, "I'd have to come down."
But everyone shouted, "NO! YOU CAN'T GIVE UP!!!"
"You only have a few more to reach the top.
Don't give up now! Give it one more shot!"
I looked very briefly down, and then looked up.
Yes, just one more, I tried and stood straight up...

...And grabbed that pink piece, which looked out-of-reach before.
Now that my grip was steady, I helped myself right up
And summoned the last of my strengths, and climbed a little more.
And rather miraculously, I was able to reach the top!
I settled back and smilingly, looked down,
There were hearty cheers all around.

The descent downwards was very sweet,
Now that I know I could pick myself up from defeat.

It was certainly a much more personal victory
Than the Germans winning four-nil over their Argentinian nemesis.
All of us surmounted our rocks with flying colours
And all of us are smiling -- even with very, very sore fingers.

And did I tell you?
It was a really beautiful, summery afternoon.

Copyright Snowdrops 2010. All rights reserved.

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