Letters of Life

Scaling Walls

By now, you would have gathered that I am not the athletic type.

Yet, in a serendipitous trip to the air force grounds on Saturday for its Open House, I did something there which left me feeling surprisingly satisfied. It was an achievement of sorts, for scaling any wall, even real ones, can make one feel that way.

It  was a 12-metre sheer rock wall at the airbase. No queue had formed yet, so several of us got harnessed, clicked on the helmets, and reached for the footholds and outcrops. When I realized I was afraid to look down, the truth hit me that perhaps I was pretty high up. But still the top remained out of reach. Plus, my bulky running shoes were not helping me perch on the tiny outcrops at all. I found myself suddenly perspiring like I had just done a 30-minute run.

I was stuck, but I think I was too high to properly hear my belayer call out hints on where I could find foot/fingerholds. My arms were quivering with exertion, my feet in awkward positions. A few times, I lost my grip.

I didn’t make it to the top, and as I rapelled down, it was with a great sense of relief.

My legs and arms were shaky from all that sudden intense exertion. I had to let the instructor unclasp my helmet because of my weak, trembling fingers.

But this photo made me realise it was all worth it.

It was the highest I’d ever climbed, it wasn’t something I’d expected to do that day, it was an attempt to solve a puzzle on a large scale, literally, and what’s more, it was actually kinda fun.

A fly on the wall . . .



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