When I was much younger and better suited to physical labor I contoured a part of my yard using a shovel and wheelbarrow. During that exercise I unearthed a big rock that no mortal man could move. My children were small and as far as this rock was concerned, they were useless.
After donning eye protection, a hat and long sleeves and long pants to prevent injury I began hitting the rock with the blunt end of a splitting maul. The sound was somewhere between a bang and a ringing. The rock didn’t move or show any signs of weakness. At the point of impact coin-sized chips were shooting out with dangerous velocity like arrows looking for flesh to cut.
I was swinging like John Henry and sweating like my dad. To look at the rock I wasn’t making any progress. My frustration at my lack of success combined with the absence of another idea resulted in me continuing to swing the sledge which made the rock ring out. Bang, bang, bang, bang.
On the next swing the rock split into three pieces. I was surprised. It was exactly what I had hoped would happen, yet after five minutes of whacking it was by now unexpected. I was able to use a lever and wrestle the pieces out of the hole, one at a time. Finally I was exhausted and I sat down with my legs dangling in the hole.
My take away was that it wasn’t the hundredth swing that broke the rock but the ninety nine that had preceded it that made the very real but unseen progress.
My goal is that this coming June I am in the best climbing shape a middle aged Davo can be in. For now I will get on my bike and ride in the rain. Wash, rinse and repeat. During these dark days I will be dreaming of sunny alpine switchbacks while cold water sloshes around in my shoes.
Bang, bang, bang, bang.