Thursday, 24 September 2009
Climbers are funny...
I was chatting with Paul B the other day, himself a veteran of both injury and obvious climbing enthusiasm. He'd nicely asked how I was doing, and I was able to truthfully say "Okay!" and mention I'd been climbing for the first time (this was when I went to Harpur Hill, a few days after my full discharge). Being the first thing I mentioned, my climbing enthusiasm in the circumstances was equally obvious, and prompted a response of:
"Climbers are funny"
...as we're all so keen to get back into it as soon as possible after injury or other time off, regardless of other peoples' perceptions or medical convention. He has a point, this is a common situation of prioritising a return to climbing. But I have an alternative view:
"Climbers are great"
Okay, clearly they / we aren't - I've long given up my naive expectations that, due to participating in an unusual, challenging, individual and involving activity such as climbing, that climbers would somehow be smarter, more interesting, more liberal and more "outside the box" than the average population, and since realised that climbers are mostly a fair representation of that population with all the idiocy, narrow-mindedness, pettiness and general choadliness that mankind usually displays.
BUT, insofar as having a passion and a drive for that activity, there is a certain amount of greatness on display there - because we have something worth fighting for, something worth striving for, something that makes physical recuperation and physical recovery worthwhile. We can be crippled and down and out and told we'll be lucky to walk properly in 6 months time and are unlikely to climb again and 3 months later we'll be back on the rock, weak and wobbly but full of joy and passion and trying hard to improve ourselves and get are body to heal so we can climb again normally as soon as possible. We'll try hard and we'll keep moving and we'll get our fitness up and we'll do our physio because we have a reason to do so - not just general physical well-being, but a passion beyond that, a passion that puts our well-being to good use.
Every step I've taken, every length I've swum, every stretch I've done, every time I've sat in an awkward position with my legs up so they didn't swell, every time I've dilligently asked the doctors about what I can do to help my healing, every time I've rested when I didn't feel like it, every time I've been conscious to take care of myself, every little bit I've pushed to get my fitness back, it's been because there's something I want that fitness for - living a good life in general, and living a climbing lifestyle....which is pretty damn good ;). I make no claims of greatness, but I feel happy and proud to have this attitude and happy and proud that climbing is a big part of it.