Sunday, March 30, 2008

Rock Climbing under the Bridge


There is a nice outcropping of rock by a bridge over the Androscoggin River and A and his friends like to climb there.

Even though there is still ice on the river, the rock is dry and it didn't take long for the climbers to get down to their t-shirts today.

I've had an awful lot of good times sitting on rocks watching this kid climb.

It was just about 3 years ago that he went for his first outdoor climb. He had spotted a cliff from my parents' living room window and wanted to climb it. We learned that the cliff was on a mountain called "Ragged Jack" and my father went to the town office to ascertain the landowner so that we could ask permission to climb. Permission was granted and Archie and I navigated our way up to the base of the cliff. He had a very limited amount of equipment, a little understanding of the mechanics and a great deal of desire. I sat on a rock while he climbed and read Freedom of the Hills and wondered if maybe a good mother wouldn't be letting her 14 year old do this.

A few weeks later, we went to some experts and he had a few days with a rock climbing guide, we purchased all the safest equipment and the rest is his life story. He climbs almost every day year round and has for the last three years. He has taught many of his friends to climb and hopes to make climbing his entire life once the pesky business of high school is finished.

Watching him climb is one of my greatest pleasures. On the rock, he exemplifies poetry, grace, strength, and concentration.



13 comments:

beckie said...

The love for your son(and other children) comes through in every word you write! They should be proud to call you Mom,

SJ said...

Its great to see A doing the thing that he loves so much!

mon@rch said...

This looks like soo much fun!

Mary said...

Rock climbing has always been a mysterious and intriguing sport to me - one with fear of heights.

I'm so impressed with A! You must be so proud of him.

Beth said...

Beckie,thank you. I've enjoyed my children, that's for sure.

SJ, it is good to see. Life can change but the rock never does.

Mon@rch, that comment sounds it might be from a rock climber? Do you climb?

Mary, thank you. I am proud of him.

Crayons said...

Hi Beth,

Two things rival for first place here: great mothering and then a level of passion for mastery that I often only see in young people. Like Mary I have a terrible fear of heights, so I was unable to look at the photo for fear of a vertigo attack.

Seabrooke said...

Out there nearly every day, that's dedicated! You can tell he enjoys it. It's wonderful that you've been so supportive of your children following their dreams. I'm curious, though, how does one make a living off rock-climbing? Perhaps as a guide/trainer?

Beth said...

Crayons--thank you but I often wonder if a good mother would sit there and watch it.

Seabrooke--I think making a living at rock climbing means changing your definition of making a living. Maybe living out of his car and guiding and working at another job to buy equipment? I'm not sure how he is going to do it but I know he'll be fine.

The Texican said...

There you go intoducing me to sports that are foreign to me. I've heard of them, but here we throw rocks. To climb on one of our rocks would not require hardly any equipment at all, just a good shoe. I can't say I ever had a desire to dangle from a rock wall. Do you still have the climbing wall in your house?

Beth said...

Texican, yes we still have the climbing wall in the family room. I hope it will be a positive selling feature when we put the house on the market and build out in the wood by my folks.

Seabrooke said...

"I think making a living at rock climbing means changing your definition of making a living."

Wise words! And I'm glad to hear them coming from a mother. I've been under a bit of pressure to settle down and take a "traditional" job, which doesn't appeal to me at all. I'm not rich, but I'm paying the bills, and I'm, for the most part, enjoying what I'm doing, which is what's important to me.

RuthieJ said...

I'm happy to see your son has such positive aspirations and is a good role model for his friends....too many young people today aren't so fortunate (or have such a good mom either!)

Anonymous said...

One must allow the ones we love the freedom to make mistakes. Allowing him to climb was gift. Climbing brought him to center. It helped clear his mind. It "Wore him out." He needed that. Think of ALL the adventures he will remember when he is 40. It may take BIG brother to set him on the right path again. It seems as though he took a sharp turn somewhere between "Rock," avenue and "Bridge," street. He ended up "In the drink."