My sister is a climber. She laces her shoes purposefully, ties the knots carefully, and chooses her handholds deliberately. She knows how to stretch to reach the next hold, or how to propel herself slightly higher. She gives other people this opportunity, guiding and hoisting, belaying them into a new sense of confidence.
When my sister was little, she climbed trees. So did I, but she always climbed a little bit further, and jumped down when she was done. When I was done, I sort of shimmied down, scraping my arms and legs bloody against the rough tree bark. I have climbed enough trees, though, to know the satisfaction it draws. Each branch, every scrape, each slipped then recovered foot hold, brings a new sense of accomplishment. I did it. I am higher than I was a moment ago. I am taller than I was a moment ago. I can see farther than the people on the ground.
Curiosity has gotten the better of me, and I’ve decided I would like to know how it feels to be a good climber. To climb a hard route successfully, without cheating. To boulder without falling, only jumping deliberately. To scale a cliffside in the great outdoors! In an effort to commit, I am planning to tryout Brooklyn Boulder’s “Beginner to Badass” program, a 30 day package where I can practice and train and learn and grow in new ways.
This week, my little sister turns twenty. In a way, I have watched her go from tree to rock; from follower to leader, from novice to expert, from student to teacher. I have watched my sister go from beginner to badass.
Happy (early) birthday, Kendra!