Climbing means an intimate knowledge of gravity.

My friend Emily S. and I started climbing at the Triangle Rock Club gym in Morrisville, and one bright and early morning before work in an empty gym we played around on the bouldering wall. 

My friend Emily showing off some muscle definition on the bouldering wall.

Fun fact: bouldering is a pain. The guy working the gym desk told us the V0 bouldering routes are about equivalent to 5.8 or 5.9 top rope routes (Emily and I had been sticking to the super beginner friendly 5.5 to 5.7 routes). So the bouldering routes meant a lot of falling. A LOT. And that's hard when you're not used to falling.

It's hard when you're just five feet off the ground but you're not used to being high up, and you know if you fall onto the crash pads you'll be just fine, but you just don't believe it yet. And when you do finally let go (but only on the count of 5 even though you said on the count of 3) the sensation of falling is so unfamiliar - so sensational! It's a split second that seems like ages as you let go - let go! - and careen, flail, flop, land, and your stomach is in your mouth and you're shaking from the adrenaline but you take stock. You're all in one piece and you're fine, just fine.

No, actually, you're great, and you give yourself a few minutes to get your grip strength back and get your muscles to quit shaking, and of course, you try again. And maybe this time you climb higher and you fall farther, or maybe you try a different route and fail. Maybe you're miserable you can't even go two feet up the wall because gosh, from solid ground that incline didn't look so bad, but when it's up close - right there in your face and under your fingers - then it feels like you might as well be upside down on the monkey bars at the playground and heaven knows you haven't been able to do that sort of stuff in years. So you try a different route, or you say, "That's enough for today; I'll try again tomorrow" and you cut your losses and go home.

But still, that rush and elation follows you around for the rest of the morning, like your own private happy cloud or an adorable little puppy that, at any moment, you notice and you're back in your happy place. Sure, gravity is a pain and I look like an idiot on the wall next to the guy with Spiderman kind of powers, but it's okay. I'll get there. I just have to keep trying and not be afraid to fall.


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