Saturday, 27 February 2016

How lonely can you get?

I love climbing people.

There's a man called Leif at Middlesborough wall. His wild hair sweeps a cascading fall. A consuming, cackling madness effuses. He spends most of his life underground. He drives to the lead-filled dales of times gone past, poking and prospecting for hours underground. He has the happy smile of a happy man. What little doubt exists, works but only to fuel his confidence.

There's another chap called Rob; an erect-haired, perma-smiled chuckler. He sports the silkware of the highest end of outdoor fashion. He mingles and bonds, twinkles and listens. His desire spawns from all forms and all places in climbing. He circulates in the hub of our world, in the epicentre of all creation and perpetuation. The clichés are lived with such vigour and passion that a humble and true sense of reality is born.

There are then the calm, stern-faced folks who spend their lives stomping and trudging the county and North York Moors. They are mostly old. Some are young. Their scowl seldom breaks; only when a fantasised line pops into the conversation, but a warming love of contentness exists within. They oft feel in threat from the high-branded centrefolk, but these two groups have but very little difference between their passions.

My favourite is the wild optimism of the impassioned youth. No shackle of reality weighs them down. No distaining comments from an elder breaks their bubble. They rise a crazed optimist; intense and desperate in rushed mousebeats, searching without rest for something of meaning. They scream and slop poor feet on the wall. No pause is long enough for anxiety to permeate and the next thing is done before the last thing is finished. Energy brings out the rawest form of the soul.

To spend a life on the hills, alone, is to occasionally miss all these people.

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