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The Weight of the World | Note 24

Last night, we climbed until twilight. We walked out of the forest, listening to birdsong. I overslept, not hearing the alarm go off, and woke up past eleven. And now I am sitting in front of a window overlooking the back garden. Summer is definitely here, sunny and hot. Our two small trees are swaying in the gentle breeze.


Life is good. I've been leaning more and more into the comforts of the everyday. The ease. Sure, there’s always enough uncertainties to go on about, and the generalised anxiety about nothing in particular, but I’ve learned how to keep it at bay. Sometimes, I struggle – but even in the thick of it, I know it’s temporary. I take every day as it comes. And recently, one after another, they’re mostly good.


But apart from my classic repertoire of worries about my own future, there’s another feeling always in the back of my mind. Sometimes, I push it away as far as possible, inevitably resulting in guilt. At other times, I let it float to the surface. And sometimes it’s just there, glaring, burning, compelling me to do something, and do it immediately. Unrealistic as it is and sounds, it is the sense of responsibility for fixing the whole world.


When we first moved to Fontainebleau, within a few months I found myself organising the Women’s Bouldering Festival. It was the first thing that came to my mind as a contribution to addressing the gender imbalance in outdoor climbing. I got our Routesetting Masterclasses up and running, and then added our stewardship workshops to fight against soil erosion in the forest. And then, somehow, without knowing how and when it happened, I was involved in campaigning against oil mining in the area, and writing articles about the risks and causes of forest fires. We were also starting another organisation that would campaign for responsible outdoor practices.


Within a couple of years, I was exhausted. Stressed out of my mind, even though I didn’t really have a job. (Unless you count my house renovations as one.) I had to step away from much of what I was doing; scale things back to focus on the festival. I had a major sense of failure and shame for not seeing the other project through.

Then, when the war in Ukraine started, I was... continue reading now→

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—   JOHNNY DAWES

BORN TO CLIMB

From Rock Climbing Pioneers
to Olympic Athletes

a new book by Zofia Reych

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