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Why I Climb

"How many of us now realize that space (think stars) is the same thing as mind or consciousness? That when you look into Infinity you are looking at yourself. That you're inside goes with your entire outside as your front with your back? That this galaxy, and all other galaxies, are just as much you as your heart or your brain? That you're coming and going, your waking and sleeping, your birth and your death, are exactly the same kind of rhythmic phenomena as the stars and their surrounding darkness?"

As I laid in my tent to the sounds of rain and snow, Watts' words moved me. Truly and deeply moved me. Had I read these words at any other point in my life I might have stumbled on through. Not a care in the world. Thinking it mere word smithing, not anything grounded in actuality. This time though, that was not the case. The words made me wonder, made me stop and think, made me consider what it might be that has brought me to the mountains. Why does everything I do revolve around climbing? Why all at once is it my work and my play? Why does it bring me to love and lovers or so quickly and easily tear them away? What is it about my nature that makes me drawn to the mountains? To writing, dancing, or to love? Is it my nature? Or is it in Nature itself?

I can't explain the gravitas of mountains any more than the whys of passion or the effortlessness of falling in love. I just find myself there. Just like we all find ourselves from time to time. Drifting in and out of life, all the while not really sure where we are or where we're going. You never really understand how the journey begins just suddenly end up there. When you fall in love or discover passions anew. When somehow, somewhere your entire being is consumed by it.

When we discover our passions, get caught up in living, or fall in love, we find ourselves in moments right where we want to be. Where we aren't afraid to show ourselves to the world. To take a chance. To laugh, love, or cry. We stand there on the precipice of life and share our soul for all to see. A bright red rose suspended over tumultuous seas.

It's in human nature to follow this course. To pour ourselves into the unknown. All for a chance to feel. To share. To lose ourselves in it. Wayward sailors caught adrift in endless seas, content, yet hopeful to one day reach the shore. All the while guided by the beauty of the stars, the knowing, and the unknown.

You can see "it" everywhere. In pursuits of science and technology, in creativity, or the endless push of each of us to try and touch the stars. You can see it in the Sistine Chapel, hear it in Beethoven's 9th symphony, or feel it in your child's first steps. It consumes the climber in the movement of body on rock, ice, and snow. In the flow of dance, not the formal or structured dances but the wild ones. The dances lost in the rhythm of music or tangled in breath, sheets, and skin.

It happens in the mountains when the sun hasn't yet risen but the luminous hues of pink and violet scatter across the ice and snow. You know then that soon there will be warmth and the light to find your way.

"This" has brought me to life. Turned my soul towards the mountains, my body to climb, and my mind to learn, teach, and, write. It has given me endless passion to love and to hold. To caress and to care. To challenge and to be challenged by an ever-adoring wonder at the beauty we call life.

There are many words for "this", for "it". For "Love", or for "God". For "Spirit", or "Soul". Nevertheless, thus far, each has fallen upon deaf ears. These "ideas" these "things" have made me ponder but not yet feel. For symbols are mere representations of that which they mean. An attempt at a common reference point for which there is no analogy. For each attempt at description takes an essence, a meaning away.

I have come to realize more and more that It's not till you let loose that you realize you're under control, till you're lost that you can be found, or till you stop looking that you see what's always been there.

You can hear it in the rain, feel it in the wind, or see it in the smile of a stranger. So let go, throw yourself into the world, into uncertainty, and adventure. Let the wild, the universe, the "insert name here" beckon you to wonder, adventure, and take a chance at that first kiss.

You do whatever it is that makes you feel. And Me?

I'll be climbing.

"When a man knows this he lives for the first time in his life. By holding his breath, he loses it. By letting go he finds it."

Photos by: Ben Matthews, @bentommat

Quotes by: Alan Watts,"Cloud-Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown"

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