Friday, April 29, 2011

The climb

It was one anomaly that I felt the need to rectify.

An anomaly that is specific to my place of birth. I have looked upon this mountain all my life, from the first days that I was old enough to observe the world around me from my bedroom window.

Croagh Patrick, that's what they call it. Named after our patron saint, who is said to have climbed it, and spent 40 days and nights at the summit. The nut job.

I have several monkeys on my back these days, lists upon lists in my bedtime head, of things I must accomplish and challenges I must meet. Because, you see, I am aware now of my mortality, and I do not wish to be tortured by any regrets on my death bed.

So the brother and I turned pilgrim on Easter Sunday, and we set off at the pace set by him - the older, the fitter and the healthier of the two of us. It has always been so, on every adventure. He in the lead, me trailing behind.

Going up was tough, but satisfying in that way that a gruelling physical effort can be. The reward came with the view from the top, across Clew Bay on a glorious afternoon.

Coming down was the real challenge. There is the feeling always that if you begin to fall, you won’t be able to stop yourself, and you will roll until something hard breaks your fall and knocks the stuffing out of you.

But then, the idea is that this climb is a penance. It is supposed to punish the spirit in some way, draw out the badness, exorcise the demons that you carry in the form of sins committed, and lies told.

I had 29 years of bad stuff for which I had to repent. Rather efficiently, I sorted the lot of it in the three and a half hours it took to get up and down, and the further two days it took for my legs to stop aching.

There is the satisfaction now that the mountain has been conquered.

I won’t ever climb it again. That was my day. When I get my new kidney, I’ll not be bringing it near any rocks or hard places.


  1. Rectifying anomalies is dangerous buisness, have ye never watched Star Treck? same goes for anomalising rectums.

  2. Fair play to ya, there's plenty of "fully fit" people who've failed before you. The pic looks like a scene from 127 Hours, so you may have escaped lightly!