Years ago before we took our first trip to the French Alps, I remember reading the book titled, Into The Wild, by Jon Krakauer. Chris McCandless got under my skin. In ten days time, five of us will depart for France deux – our second challenging trip to cycle the toughest climbs in the Alps. We’ll be there for eight days. It will be good, hard, beautiful, and test us. I can hardly wait.
Rereading a little Into The Wild seemed appropriate. Here’s a little Krakauer magic about what it feels like to climb and climb and climb. Durp and Tomination, this is for you.
“As the climb goes on, you grow accustomed to the exposure, you get used to rubbing shoulders with doom, you come to believe in the reliability of your hands and feet and head. You learn to trust your self-control. By and by your attention becomes so intensely focused that you no longer notice the raw knuckles, the cramping thighs, the strain of maintaining nonstop concentration. A trancelike state settles over your efforts; the climb becomes a clear-eyed dream. Hours slide by like minutes. The accumulated clutter of day to day existence – the lapses of conscience, the unpaid bills, the bungled opportunities, the dust under the couch, the inescapable prison of your genes – all of it is temporarily forgotten, crowded from your thoughts by an overpowering clarity of purpose and by the seriousness of the task at hand.
At such moments something resembling happiness actually stirs in your chest, but it isn’t the sort of emotion you want to lean on very hard…”
Ten days till the test. It is good to test yourself, to feel strong; not necessarily to be strong. It is good to see the power of clarity of purpose and come back ready to apply this clarity in work and life. It is good to train. It is good to come back and apply the disciplines learned into becoming a better man. It is good to go with a few friends. It is good to come back with new stories. It is good to experience God in the solitude of a mountain climb. It is good to come back with new depth to your relationships.
It is good to go into the wild every so often and feel life. It is good…