SLIDER

A Poem: The Climber

Photo Credit: Crystal Smith
I stumbled upon rock climbing while I was volunteering abroad in Ireland a couple years ago, and was instantly hooked. This past summer, one of my best friends and I decided to join a rock gym near us. It was there that I discovered bouldering, and fell completely in love with it. I think staying active is important for our physical health, but much more importantly I think it improves our mental and spiritual health as well. Although I haven't been able to make it to the rock gym recently because of school, I eagerly await the day when I can get back into it. For me, the most important thing about rock climbing is that it doesn't actually feel like "working out." I encourage you, dear readers, to discover activities that don't make you feel like you are working out, but instead make you come alive, inspire you to work harder, connect you to to other people, and bring you laughter and joy. For me, those activities mostly manifest themselves in dancing and bouldering. What activities do that for you? 
This poem was inspired by the strength, grace, and poise of the climbers I saw around me at the gym. It really did look like they were dancing: I think bouldering, like so many other things in life, is an art form in itself.
  The Climber
Somehow he is...dancing.
Fingers claw the variegated pouch and  
Clouds of dust billow
Before his sinewy frame as he claps the chalk from his hands.
With meticulous grace he clings to the wall,
A peaceful predator roaming free in the wild.
Gently springing into action,
Each movement is studied.
One arm upwards,
A careful foot placed against the rock.
Cross over,
Reach,
Take a breath.
Every fiber strains
Fit to burst
In a concentration of energy and poise.
All too soon it is over and,
Letting go,
He alights from the wall.
The mat beneath is a
Welcome release from the pain--

by Leanna Jill

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