June 12, 2007

Addendum to Brandon's Observation that Elliot is Like a Rock Climber

So I was thinking about Elliot's ever-increasing motor skills yesterday as I myself...went rock climbing.* I had never been rock climbing before, but I had long wanted to and a friend of ours offered to let me tag along when he went yesterday (thanks Vincent!).

Anyway, here's the thing about rock climbing: it is really kind of frustrating. You're hanging there, on a vertical surface, with only precarious little nooks and crannies to hold on to. A lot of your time is spent figuring out what to do next, and a lot more of your time, if you're me, is spent being frustrated because you have figured out what to do next but aren't strong enough to do it. So you hang there, straining. Sometimes someone from down below says something encouraging, and that's nice, because you are working hard, and because it's a reminder that someone is watching you and you are safe. But they can't help you.

Which, I guess, is why it's so rewarding when you do figure it out and you do make your inchworm way up along that funny surface. You have figured it out, and you have made it happen. The moments of figuring it out--I had a few of them--are so pleasing. And then when you are done, whenever you decide that is, you swing free, and someone eases you safely down.

Which is to all to say: it seems like this really must be what it is like to be an infant. Everything new and precarious, every moment requiring your full attention.

It makes me a little jealous of Elliot, actually, though it also makes me appreciate how hard he is working. It seems he like must be living with such amazing intent. No wonder he laughs randomly, for what seems like no reason: he must be having a joyful moment of his mind and body working together to figure something out.

*O, people who know clumsy me, don't worry. This was very safe rock climbing, on a wall, with lots of ropes and harnesses and safety precautions. About the worst you can do is bang your knee--which, of course, I did.


Amy E said...

I've been wondering about rock climbing a lot lately. Am I correct in assuming that most of the ascension is accomplished by using upper arm strength?

sarah said...

i'd say that it's probably an equal mix of leg and arm, relying heavily on on these little balance muscles you don't usually use. it's probably more important to have good balance and strong core muscles than big biceps.