First, I invite you to watch this video:
Second, as I have mentioned in my past posts, I have felt an increasing amount of difficulty writing about my big wall adventure in Yosemite. I have had all of the pictures done for about a month now, but I have had a complete and utter lack of words. After a few talks with Asa and watching the above video a handful of times, I felt inspired and decided to sit down and just write. So I did and this is the result.
What is climbing? If you consult Wikipedia, it tells you that “rock climbing is an activity in which participants climb up, down or across natural rock formations or artificial rock walls. The goal is to reach the summit of a formation or the endpoint of a pre-defined route without falling.” Somehow though, that definition has never fit for me. Somewhere along the lines of communication within my friend group, word got out that I had a climbing cam tattooed on my side just months after my first climbing experience. The most usual reaction is to ask me to show it. “You’re absolutely obsessed,” or “Guess you’re a trad climber for life then, eh?” or “Wow, you really just dove right into it didn’t you?” were just a few of the expressions I heard.
Truth be told though, my climbing tattoo isn’t really about climbing. Yes, the cam on my side may mimic the first piece of trad gear I ever cleaned from a route. And yes, it was a result of my first rock climbing experience in Indian Creek. And yes, the drawing on my side may actually be the only piece of “gear” I own outside of my harness and shoes. But even more, the tattoo on the right side of my body began as a celebration of my life. I carefully chose the words “imple inane” to engrave into my rib cage above my cam. And by carefully, I mean I checked, double checked, and even tripled checked with my high school Latin teacher that I had the absolute correct tense, spelling, and phrase depicting “fill the void”.
Fill the void.
Yes, fill the void fits. As we were laying on our backs in the summer sun, “just fill the void… with your body” was what my friend Spring told me to do when I climbed for the first time. I remember gazing up at the wide and long crack in front of me. I remember thinking that I had just discovered some sort of hidden mecca in my life begging to be revealed. And on the drive home after that weekend, I remember crying. I remember the battle. I remember not even thinking about giving up. I remember crying for what seemed like hours.
I remember waking up the next morning in my bed, looking at the physical marks of battery decorating my body. I thought to myself how all of the bruises, cuts, and scraps were in some way a portrayal of the ultimate detoxification. I was high – literally high on life. The ecstasy and positive energy in my body, no – my soul, was like nothing I had ever experienced before.
So I’ll ask again – what is climbing? To me, climbing is filling the void. Climbing for me is about living life – actually living. Climbing is about being in my body, in the experience, in the moment. Yes, climbing for me has allowed me to love, to love myself, to love this experience known as living.
© /skin/ /ˈpōətrē/