Saturday, September 24, 2011


I didn't go climbing this weekend.

Actually, this is the third consecutive weekend when I'd hoped to climb but it somehow didn't happen.  Weather, and sickness, and weather again have messed up my plans for September, usually one of the best months to climb in the eastern USA.

Climbing means a lot to me, but one of its moral dangers is a temptation to devalue other kinds of outdoor experiences.  When we climbers start referring to other outdoorspeople as "tourists", that's a danger sign.  What are we if not tourists?

Yes, climbing is the gateway to an experience which is not available elsewhere, a meditation on the rocky skeleton of the world. But the journey I go through to get there is recognizably similar to the journey that takes my neighbor to a football game.

So this weekend, I try not to complain that I cannot get on the rock. Instead, I get on my bike and ride for miles, praying for the inhabitants of the neat suburban homes that I pass.

Change is coming to all of us.

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