1024 x 768 Vol 3

“I don’t regret this one bit, I don’t regret this one bit, I don’t…”  What is a mantra?  Webster says  “A word or phrase that is to be chanted repetitively in an effort to empty the mind and attain “cosmic con-sciousness” (oneness with God and the universe).”  By definition my chant is not a mantra, perhaps a conscious decision through subliminal repetition to alter my reality….. The one thing I have to keep relearning in life is two things.  Part one of one, I never ceased to be amazed.  Part two of one, nothing is more creative than reality.  Quakers instant Grits with Pork idealize those lessons.  This is why one travels.  Learning about different cultures and experiencing new and unusual days are important to understanding.  However I am a climber, by definition obsessive and selfish.  The truth is, the only thing that brings me to this understanding is a desire to boulder on Alabama’s finest sandstone.  Walmart’s grocery isle just happens to be a convenient supply stop on our way to Horse Pens 40.  If I get a nice culture slap in my face, while perusing the Walden Family legacy, all the better.

We don’t need that much though, we, Kel, Steph, and I, are only staying for two nights.  I see how good can turn to evil, innocent to tainted, and Rap to Showtunes.  That little red devil sitting on your shoulder, “C’mon you know you want it, just try a piece, you won’t get fat, hurt, broke, addicted..”  My little red devil was a trendy, techno loving, sugar eating, product in my hair wearing friend named Andy.  Ring Ring “Russ we should go to HP40 for the long weekend, it’s going to be RAAAD.  Fly down Friday and come back Monday, yah yah.  It’ll be like wet bouldering, but dry!”

We’re like three’s company, I’m Jack, Kel’s Chrissy, and Steph’s Janet.  Funny, I learned that Jack and I are very similar, but my downstairs neighbor is quite large and drinks constantly.   This reality esque tv series deserves Friday off, so we wake up at 3am, on the plane by 7, in the car by 10, arrive at the boulders by noon.  This place seems like Allah hand picked each piece of perfect sandstone and neatly placed them all within a 10 acre stretch.  I can see those deities, “Yah, go jesus get that hold, crimp it, crimp it.  Hey no flying, that’s a total dab (climbing term for cheating).”  “Hey Allah I heard Buddha put up this sick line, all campusing.”  “Yoh Jesus, there’s this new guy Moses, wicked strong.  He’s working this new project he wants to call God Module”…

I have this whole theory where technology of this day and age, TV, video games, IM, iPod, iTunes, iMac, insanity, is creating a whole generation of very non-focusing individuals.  I’m not talking ADD, because this can be controlled, it’s no disease, just lack of practice.  Well, for all my O’ming and downward dogs, my attention span was that of flea when put amongst so many good boulders with such little time.  Kel and Steph waived goodbye and I was off… By nightfall we kept warm for minutes as Steph simultaneously piled all 8 pieces of wood into the already brimming flames of hell…

I dreamed of electric sheep….

Only a place blessed by religions architects could be so god damn, Jesus F’ing, cow eating lucky to receive their tears.  It came down like a hurricane was coming up from the Gulf, because it was… Andy, Dan, and Stephanie headed for Tennessee hoping that rental cars come with magic weather forcefields.  We stayed in HP and I got religious.  For all my blasphemy, miracle as it was, the rain stopped, the boulders dried, and I lost focus.  Projects fell beneath our finger tips all day.  I got wind that Andy and gang were headed for Rock Town Georgia.

On the third day we were more energetic and absolutely psyched than the first.  We had until four p.m., then back to Atlanta to catch a flight, back to Boston, back to work, back to granite, just back…  I was determined to postpone that inevitability as long as possible.  We couldn’t leave as long as I was just about to send something.

Funny isn’t it, funny how hypocritical human nature really is.  I know that climbing fatigued is not on the top 10 smartest things to do, I know that it can lead to injury, I also know that I pulled my stomach muscles a week earlier from non-stop lifting, yoga, and way too much climbing.  I also know this is third day on of a very fast paced, burley climbing vacation.  So what may I ask was I thinking when I heard my knee pop three times and still insisted on trying that problem one more time!  I know what I was thinking, SEND.. Dammit, tearing the cartilage of my right knee completely off, requiring surgery, weeks on a couch, months of recovery, and total climbing set back, was total worth it.  I mean “I don’t regret this one bit”, “I don’t regret this one bit”… “KEEELLLLEEYYYY, I can’t sleep a fucking wink, please go the store and get me more tylenol, PLEASEEEEEE.”

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