Now that winter is here and the year is drawing to an end, I find myself thinking back on the time that was. There is a day from the summer that stands out in my mind in particular. We ended up having a big crew, and somehow had a popular wall in Rifle all to ourselves for a couple of hours. One friend was bolting a new line. Others were trying projects, some were getting back into shape after taking some time off. Everyone was doing their own thing, but we were all there together, encouraging each other, joking around, and generally having a good time.
I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear on the ride home. Going out, trying hard and being surrounded by your friends are for me among the finest moments in climbing. Things don’t always go smoothly, in climbing or in life, but sometimes they line up just right that you get these glimpses of grace. These moments that feel surreal in their beauty and purity and happiness. And it’s those moments that push us through the darker ones. The uncertainty of an injury, or even the nights spent up with a loved one, unsure of the outcome of the situation you are dealing with. The anxiety of waiting for a phone call, wondering what news you’ll get.
My only response to these moments is gratitude, and I try to fully imprint the experience on my mind, the feeling of grace, so that when darker days are here, I can recall this moment of pure glory and bliss. It will remind me that the darkness won’t last forever, and the light will shine through again in new and marvelous ways that even though I’ve experienced before may shock me, and leave me in awe of their simple and profound beauty.