The Climber

A smile. A flask cup of tea that
steams still from three hours brewed.
Cricking neck. Focused eyes search
the ashen map; a violent edge of
thrusted earth, untried, un-routed, time-worn smooth to
tempt the challenge. Bulging against the sky,
proud, still, silent, confident; unaware
of reputation. Nature's knight that's
served to defend against a human need
for conquering and occupation.

Limbs drift on air. A Marceau dance;
a trance. Left hand pinch, right foot
smear, foot change then a hand traverse;
a story unfolding like a formula, an
Agatha Christie mystery shaped in stone -
Poirot's jigsaw.

The harness frames her backside,
muscles firm beneath her skirt of nuts and rocks,
hexs and friends - tools of the trade,
plummet protection, Peter Pan prevention,
but no intention on reliance;
muscles have been honed for this, they're ready!

Chalk bag strapped, stickies on, the ballet begins.

Fingers pinch
and jam.
Rock bites against
a friendly cam.

Stickies smear
and edge.
Body counter-balances
to reach a ledge.

Fibrils heave
and flicker.
Arms move,
graceful, quicker.

As the face becomes more extreme.

She reaches a seam, lies back and shuffles.
Concentration exudes from her brow as
she parades like a swan with a tiger's intent.
She moves with Shubert, composed with time.
toned with effort, determination, desire.
A spirit jailed only by a creeping
fear of failure, of falling.

She underclings the overhang and
breathes hard. Her leg begins to shake,
she must go; time to fly, leave the
nest and launch to new
beginnings. Fly, little bird, fly!
Adrenaline leaps her into weightlessness,
timelessness, free of the Earth except
for the umbilical belay that threads
to the life-holding nut six feet below.

Deadpoint. Apex; a chalkdust slap.

God Bless friction!

She heaves and balances, tops the rock.
Exhausted, relieved, ecstatic.