Letters of Life

Lessons from a Ski Slope (Part II)

This is a phrase widely quoted: “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”
(Obvious lesson here.)

I didn’t get to ski anymore during my stay at the Hokkaido ski resort because rising temperatures and all-night rain melted most of the snow by the next morning. I was surprised to see grass—previously hidden by the snow—blanketing the ground. It was like seeing a bit of spring appearing too early.

So we went indoor-rock-climbing instead.

Alternate post title: Lessons from a Rock Climb

Rock-climbing is a whole different ballgame. It generally takes two people (for top-roping which is commonly done indoors): The belayer, who feeds the rope to the climber, and the climber himself. It requires a great deal of trust on the climber’s part to know the belayer is watching him closely all the time and feeding more rope or pulling back on the rope to prevent long falls.

Having a view of things from the ground, the belayer can point out to inexperienced climers where to grasp a rock, where to stretch a leg. The belayer encourages, and reminds the climber to use all four limbs, not just rely on arm strength to pull himself up.

These also happen to be the essentials of any good friendship: The implicit trust between climber and belayer that the belayer is constantly watching you, cutting you slack at times, and at other times, knowing when to pull on the rope to keep you in check.

A good friend senses when you are wavering and offers encouragement so you don’t give up, tells you it’s only a little bit more to the top, that you can do it. And so you reach the top, one grip, one pullup, one foothold, one step up, at a time.

You hoist yourself up, arms aching, fingers shaky, finally grasping the ledge of the top. There’s nothing more confidence-boosting than scaling a rockface, even if it’s an indoor one with in-built grips. That, and being reminded again, of the truth about friendships.

Ever rock-climbed before? What was your experience like? What do you like about it? Do you think the activity has a lot to do with trust, and thus, with friendship? Do share your thoughts.

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Categorised in: Been Around The World (Travel), Born to Run

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