Misery Rocks, Devils Lake State Park, 8.25.2012

Jeff starts out on The Pillow (5.6)
Jeff starts out on The Pillow (5.6)

A climbing day can be wonderful for a lot of reasons, many of them unpredictable. Yes, a climbing day may shine because you climb harder than ever before, you finally understand a key movement concept, or you send the formerly-impossible project you've been working for months. But more often, the beauty of a climbing day is not really about "climbing" at all, but more the relationships - with ourselves, each other, and the natural world -  we have opportunity to indulge in for hours at a time. A great story leads to a ridiculous joke leads to a delicious snack... an off-hand suggestion leads to a pretzeled climbing position leads to uncontrollable laughter... a good question leads to an hour-plus conversation just because we are out here, in our little climbing bubble, with some amazing people, and we can do whatever we want to do.

Jenn enjoying the belay while Jeff sends False Perspective (5.6)
Jenn enjoying the belay while Jeff sends False Perspective (5.6)

Sometimes, clients take things to the next level. The conversation swirls and swoops and flip-flops, then at some surprising point, it dives straight into the depths of Life. Climbing with Jenn & Jeff on Saturday was like that. These guys showed up in the early morning hours in a sweet Dodge Charger and Ray-Bans, looking the epitome of cool and detached... then, hours later, they are sharing the intimate details of their 7-year relationship and the heart-wrenching crossroads where they now find themselves. And for some reason, they let me in on this story, lay the whole thing out for me, allow me to venture deeply personal questions. And what choice do I have but to reciprocate? And so we find ourselves immersed in story, quandary, and authenticity, in between climbing commands and beta questions, the whole thing blending together in a wonderful, anomalous  chain of events.

Jeff and Jenn climbing under the shaded canopy of Misery Rocks
Jeff and Jenn climbing under the shaded canopy of Misery Rocks

Seven hours after we meet, we are suddenly back in the parking lot. We sort our gear, Jen writes me a check, and we say our goodbyes. We are out of the bubble, our time together over, and it throws me off a little. It feels completely strange to simply drive away from these two... I feel like we should share a meal or go swimming together or something... something to celebrate our experience together. But it is the end of a work day, and my family is waiting at home for me, and it's time to shift gears back to this reality. I often hear folks talk about going "back to reality" after having a great time somewhere, and it always strikes me as a strange thing to say. It's ALL reality, isn't it? But we have to call the "bubble" something, because it feels so different, so removed, from our day-to-day experience.

Thanks to Jeff and Jen for a memorable day on the rock, and to all the clients I've had the honor of spending quality time with. You make my work incredibly fulfilling and a joy to wake up to.