Every muscle was straining, my toes were almost numb. Sweat began to drip into my eyes. I had as far to go as I had already come, and I was stuck. My fingers were starting to hurt, gripping the narrow ledge. My feet were planted on mere nubs of rock, and I wasn't moving.
Above me to the right there was a crack that I could fit my whole fist into and a little higher than that on the left was a beautiful bucket hold. Beautiful and worthless. They might as well have been a mile away for all the good they were doing me. To reach either of them I'd have to let go.
Let go of the safe, secure and solid. Let go of the familiar and reach out of my comfort zone. Where I was at was good, but it wasn't getting me anywhere.
My climbing buddy called up to me, "Reach up with your right hand and follow that crack to the top!"
The breeze sweeping through the canyon was drying the sweat on my back and freezing my ears. I wondered how cold it would get spending the night up here, since I obviously wouldn't be moving anytime soon.
Let go? Are you kidding me? What if I can't find this safe postition again? What if I can't reach the bucket hold? And what if I FALL!?
"I can see the grass growing! Wake me up if you decide to move!"
Yeah, thanks for the encouragement..
Out loud I said something like, "Just let me enjoy the view for a little while!"
I'm above the tree tops. I'm sure the valley behind me looks spectacular. (I wouldn't know. If I looked over my shoulder I'd probably wrench myself off of my precarious perch)
"Seriously, what's the worse that could happen?"
"Um, I could FALL, duh!"
"Then I would catch you. I'm not gonna let you hit the ground."
Oh yeah, duh.
One finger at a time I released the ledge from the death grip I held on it and moved my right hand up, slowly shifting my weight, slowly stretching, reaching and balancing until finally, I wasn't stuck anymore.
I've learned a lot of things while rock climbing. That day I learned that sometimes when I'm not going anywhere I just need to let go.