"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;..."
We studied 'To Autumn' by John Keats for GCSE English, and those two lines have always stuck with me. They were going round and round in my head yesterday as I sat under the Heather Hat roof, flask in shaking hand, trying to rest between goes on Project X (Midnight In A Perfect World, but its getting boring writing the whole name, and anyone who reads this will know about the obsession already). I hadn't been able to get down the Glen for over a week, now that 'daylight-saving' has removed all the day-light from our lives, and there was a really noticable difference in the Glen. Autumn is definately here, and by the looks of thinks getting ready for that switch into winter. Where before the bog-trot up to the rock was a wade through sweet-smelling bog myrtle, it's now a wade through their skeleton-bare twigs. The leaves on the birch trees that layer the side of the Ben and hide the hundreds of wee craglets all over Polldubh, have all passed-on. No more fiery gold and orange to light up the hills, just their ghosts to rot down and become next years food. And the weather. It hardly needs an introduction, but it's fair to say that the whole of last week has been a shocker. For the first time I saw the MWIS forecast use the word 'incessant', and you know thats not going to be good. The rain seemed to arrive with the gaining of an hour in bed. I wish I'd slept in. It just didn't stop. In fact, I was glad of the OMM wounds for an excuse not to cycle to work.
So when it dried out on Saturday morning, and remained dry into Sunday a Project X mission was in order. I thought I'd make a session of it, bring a flask, my book, lunch and ipod, rest properly between tries, warm-up properly and keep warm. You know, the opposite of the usual get pumped and stay pumped with cold hands and leave twenty minutes later.
I really noticed that I hadn't done the moves for a week or so as I repeatedly failed on the first crux the first few goes, but after a while it came, and it was time to settle into the same old routine of trying 'the big link'.
In Stone Country, the Scottish bouldering guide, Dave Macleod has written a really good peice called 'Happiness In Slavery'. It's all about the feeling of being trapped by a project that you just can't leave alone, and the proccess of wiring it all together, inch-by-inch. He describes sitting under one of the big roofs at Dumbarton, locked in by the rain outside, pulling on for 3 seconds at a time before crashing back onto the pad. But slowly, week by week and month by month the 3 seconds becomes 5, and he can throw for the next hold, then the next, until in isolation he can do it all and he realises that one day it will be possible. But until that day he is a slave and he wouldn't want it any other way. Instead of becoming despondant with the huge obstacle he has to surmount, he draws inspiration from it. It's a reason to try harder, get more pumped and fall off more.
Its getting that way with Midnight... Except that Dave Macleods project was about V14 and mine is V5/6/7 (depending on which guide you look at). I can do the whole thing in two overlapping halves, and the second half is coming easier than it was, but having the juice to do it all in one is still proving evasive. I feel like I'm locked in battle and victory is possible, but it's not coming without a lot of skin, heavy breathing and gurning. Awesome. I'm loving it. I just need a few more dry weekends when I'm free and it will go. It will go. In the mean time its down the wall thrice a week so that I can bear down like yo mumma.
Still hanging on: Lining up for the first crux