There have been several months, actually more than I care to admit, where I have set aside climbing for other responsibilities and pursuits that fill up my current life. That's not necessarily a bad thing, just unusual. After a nice break from climbing, I found myself, for the second time in two weeks, at the dramatically overhanging cliff-come-cave of Willow River State Park, WI. I can't think of a more beautiful, fun and challenging place to get back into the mental and physical groove of climbing.
As I pulled and body torqued off of deep, positive pockets, move after move after glorious move, my center was found, again. Clip the rope into the quickdraw and an audible "click" provides the mental biscuit this dog craves for reward (read: security) after the last stretch of pumpy climbing; and a metaphor for the mind grasping, understanding in an instant why I love this practice of centering so much. "Ah, this is how it is. I remember this place. This is the physical side of my meditation practice that has gotten me to places deep in my Psyche and heart that all but sitting practice cannot touch."
The endless, consistent roar of the waterfalls below me, nothing but clear air to fall into, the coarse texture of positive juggy hold after hold, the breeze and sun all work together to carry me upwards. And this day, the mind doesn't limit my body. Although my body is now better suited for running than pursuing higher end climbing, it performs surprisingly well; a welcome, encouraging shock, to say the least. The bug has found and bitten me again. My sights are now set on routes I've not touched, or contemplated even while in peak climbing shape of yesteryear. And why not?