Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The feeling of exposure

As my feet cut loose I know that my technique has left a lot to be desired, I feel the sharp edge of the hold cut into my left hand, I glance down to check on the tumbling chaos that I know is there. Seeing it rules out any thoughts I had of letting go, the expressionless face and panicked eyes of my friend looks up at me while he franticly works with what he has, to put things in place for the expected airborne decent.

Its time to act, I free my right hand of the clumsy wooden handle and now with mind fully consumed by the task, I probe the brail like features of the wall with my feet to push back against the gravity of the situation. With subtle shifts in my weight and optimistic use of my feet and I begin to move right.

I become aware that the situation below has improved but letting go is still not an option, I scrutinize the rail of holds and give myself odds on making it to the platform at its terminus. As I start to make progress in my puzzle, I become aware of a creaking noises above my head. It turns out that I’m not the only one feeling the strain, this structure was designed to collect water not idiots, glancing across to my destination again and the asphalt of the flat roof looks so close but I’m no longer concerned about my problems solving and endurance.

Second ago I was joking about the ladder falling and being more concerned about the paint on the ground than the fall its self now here I am bridged out in a window with the hands of my fellow instructors like cress leaves below fragile and waving. Do I wait for the ladder and rescue or make a brake for the roof and safety?

My minds eye plays back footage of similar traverses undertaken on the limestone hulks of Pembroke, with an anxious sea pacing back and forth, reaching up and protesting, outraged at my presents. I ponder weather others in my position have made the same comparison, is what I’m thinking the correct response, or a sign of a miss spent youth? Either way the cries from the guttering are sounding more urgent by the second and the solution to this problem may well be out of my hands. I observe the angle of the underside of the structure change, as gravity and the masonry fixings work together like Meany of our groups.

Their task; to release pressure. Their solution… well that’s for them to fathom, I wonder weather my part in all this makes me a facilitator? Quietly observing their actions without offering opinion only ensuring they stay focused on the task. Probably not I’ve never really seen myself as a facilitator more a catalyst keen to agitate, enthuse and remain unchanged. There goes the miss spent youth again.

The familiar sensation of weightlessness, it’s the same weather your in the sea on a river or off the rock. It has its own sound but I can’t describe it, it never lasts long enough, do I tense now or relax?

I rejoin my friends on the ground, there is no fuss everyone has a job to do and they are all very good at doing them. They only speak and move when necessity dictates. I watch quietly proud of their efficiency in overcoming the problems I’ve presented them with. Am I a facilitator or catalyst… perhaps now is not the time?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Time for a quick one?

Staring into middle distance at the lights, the cars at the start line all look familiar, we are members of the same wave released from our grind to race our course home. Where the real work begins, but it has been a hard week for me and an even harder day... there is only one thing for it “I’m going to call in for a quick one son, you keen?”
Jon smiles and doesn’t even check his watch he’s young he doesn’t have to answer to anyone if he thinks it’s a good idea, then it’s a good idea.
But where to go? The wife has been released now and her race passes my favourite haunt. I know a good parking spot, a hidden parking spot you can’t see it from the road, not since they reinforced the wall after the massive storm last year.
We park up and on the way in I bump into an old friend from school. I thought he lived down south? Said he was back to visit the family and needed to unwind, not sure if this is the place to be it looks really busy. It’s the busiest I’ve seen it in ages, there’s Dan he’s shit hot at darts, plays at county level, surfs pretty good too. Whenever I do this I worry she will smell it on me or taste it on my lips, or just notice the change in me, it’s not like I’m cheating, just one or two on the way home, never longer than a hour, just an hour for me to catch up with friends, reflect on the day, the week, the month.
We go in, it’s even more crowded than I thought, but we find a quite spot and settle down. All the regular faces are here “feeding the habit” nervously checking their watches and surveying the horizon, they’re just like me they have “homes to go to” drains to unblock, mouths to feed, dishes to wash, but for now here we are and I’m not sure we could stay away even if we wanted to. I’ve had some good times here, the best of times, regardless of the season there is always is familiar face about a funny story that’s being told. Sometime’s that’s the only reason I come, to catch up.
But today I’m here for the swell, 5ft glass 13 seconds period. More power than I thought, queuing in the line up waiting for my opportunity on this busy evening constantly reassessing my position, trying to read what’s about to happen, like getting the attention of the busy bar man. Finally “I make eye contact” seconds later….. it all slips away, it’s just me, me here, I feel the weight of my week lose its grip, I become fully aware again. My vision sharpens; I dance tipsy on the ocean. I nod to Jon, time to drink up and head home. Drying myself in the car park I’m careful not to leave any sand on my feet or wet in my hair I wipe clean all signs of my mistress. The van starts first time and we both crane our necks for one last look as we leave.
Through the front door and a voice inquires “your home late?” is she talking to me or Simon Cowell? I poke my head around the door yea busy one today.. what’s for tea?
The hint of a smile lets me know that she knows, and that’s enough.