One extra-special thing that we did was go rock climbing with Papa D's oldest sister (that's her with the braids). Over the past few years, she's become quite an avid rock climber down in her neck of the woods, and she's been eager to try out our local rocks. (We live quite close to Rumney, a popular destination for rock climbers, claiming some of the best sport climbing in the Northeast.) Papa D and I both used to climb quite a bit, and while he's kept it up, I haven't put on a harness in over 4 years. It was so much fun to be climbing again, and just to be up in the woods. And the best part of the day was getting Little C climbing! She used a special child's harness and quickly took to it with the fearlessness of a toddler. In fact, she didn't want to leave! I was so incredibly proud of her diligence and continued effort, even though it was difficult for her. Papa D and I both struggle with pushing ourselves through challenges, and we've often talked about how we can pass along the virtue of diligence to our child. It was so exciting to see her try again and again, and to see her face beam with pride at her accomplishment. We were all tired at the end of the day--the best kind of tired that comes from exerting yourself doing something you love.
Psychologically and physically, it felt so good to climb again. I have to confess that I get too easily intimidated by activities that I once was good at, but no longer spend much time doing (like writing, kayaking, skiing, climbing, hiking). It's something I don't like about myself--it's as though if I can't keep up the level of involvement that I once had, I don't want to do it at all. I used to lead wilderness expeditions for incoming freshman at the college I attended, and as a guide and a student of outdoor education I had a moderate level of skill and confidence in these areas. But once I got out of the rhythm of regular involvement in backpacking and climbing, I've had a hard time doing it at all. It's as though I'd rather not face my out-of-shape-ness, or that fact that things don't come quite as easily as they once did. So it felt like something of an emotional hurdle to overcome to commit myself to a day of climbing after so long. I'm pretty proud of myself, and I did okay up on the rock too!
Here's Little C, unwilling to admit that it's time to go home. Don't worry, sweetheart, we'll do it again soon!