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Welcome.. This is my story of exploring the philosophic link between self discovery, spiritual awakening, friendship and rock climbing in the powerful realm of Mother Nature.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Through the Looking Glass

"There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered" - Nelson Mandela

Me & my bro Oliver during his 21st in 2005
It's April 10th and i crossed 'the pond' a month ago now. When people ask me how it is being back, it's hard to explain but i hope this post will help..

The tiny screen on board the flight starts rolling the credits for Sherlock Holmes. This is the one movie i watch on board the 9 hour flight from Calgary as my attention span no longer had anything else to pay attention too, aside from the constant roar of the engines directly underneath me which brings me back, with sobering reality, that we are 9km's above sea level travelling over 500 mph.

"Nothing to do but be happy with your effort to live up to this point. Thank you universe...Wait..Don't be so dramatic, everything will be fine." (I actually say this every time on a flight at some point).

The movie is either a marvelous coincidence or a clever placement by Air Transit. Either way, the banter, the british wit, the city of London and overcast skys are adequately preparing me for the imminent change of scenery. I switch the screen off and stare out the window.It seems we are in clouds and have been for quite a while. Of course we are, welcome back to the British Isles.

Considering i cried when i left Canada in 2009, i feel reassuringly calm as i'm flying further and further away from a place i have come to love. It's becuase i am content. I have been walking my own way.

Gliding down through the clouds, we are met with green! In all shades you can imagine! I guess this is the fruit of the constant rain. Oh well, after living with nothing but snow and ice for the last 3 months the abundance of color is a breath of fresh air. This is the first of many occasions in which i am pleasantly surprised by the UK. Enter the Visitor.

Although i'm in the country less than 12 hours (heading for a week in the Alps) i realise that the significance of life in the mountains has not only become imbedded in who i am but also in my perception and values.

 Skiing in the Alps with my dad & brother, i endlessly survey the ranges making mental notes and using up most of the cameras memory with shots of walls, ridges and mountain tops. A week later, in the south of England i sip tea, listening to my favorite black birds sing and start looking for venues to visit across the UK. I am hungry for historic trad routes. My mind is restless because i know i cannot stay here in 'the Shire'. The urge is powerful. The fire needs the fuel. My first break sends me to the Wye Valley near Bristol (where i snag my first E point!). Again, after days of bombarding the UK climbers website for partners, a friend offers a week in the beautiful Peak district and as it turns out, the Lake district too. (What a treat!) Discovering new places in my homeland gives me huge appreciation for a country i used to snub.

However, i have papers scattered across this desk with how to get to Siurana in NE Spain, somewhere completely new and on my hit list. Got to progress. This is who i am now.

How things have changed.

Pitch 2 of 'King Kong' E1
But my heart knows better. The week in the Alps was wonderful as i got to hang out with my family. Blue bird skies and a constant stream of jokes melted away any apprehension. Back in England, my dear grandmothers made their signature dishes, i saw my step father give away his daughter in Newcastle with my lovely mum at his side and i finally saw my best friends. The ones who are always sorely missed. The buddies who you pick up with from where you left off, the mates who will always have your back. (You know who you are)

Some things don't change i suppose.

In this game that we play where adventure is rife and uncertainty is definite, we must cherish the moments that we have with our loved ones as you can never know for sure what might happen out there. But to all those who know me, i hope you understand that i have to go. I need to experience the highs and the lows of this life. If i didn't, you wouldn't recognize me anymore.

'Embankment 1' E1 , Millstone, Peak District
 (down climbing crux)
Now, if i can just find a way to do this forever...


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