A walk amongst the trees

Birchden Woods, in grounds within which Harrison's Rocks is located
Birchden Woods, in grounds within which Harrison’s Rocks is located

I have a (very) impatient side that doesn’t embrace sitting down or inactivity for that long…

It’s not a side of myself I am particularly at ease with, and I do my best to temper this behaviour, but it is there – real and acknowledged, unmovable and stubborn. In addition to this I have another side: the yoga loving vegetarian that over thinks, over analyses, and gets a bit emotional when near the sea. These constitute two very different rats to feed: when one is satisfied, the other thinks that everything is meaningless; when other is satisfied, I feel a vague sort of contentment, but really just want to go climbing again.

I’m never sure whether this is the young vs. old, short term vs. the long term, physical vs. spiritual, plain vs. pretentious.

Who knows, who cares…

Gorges, caves and chasms...
Gorges, caves and chasms within the most unlikely of places: South East England

It is more frequent that I please the former side, simply because it is the most loud and belligerent: climb, climb, climb, climb (repeat)… Earlier this week, I tried to satisfy the latter whilst stopping off at Harrison’s Rocks – a place I last climbed over 10 years ago. Whilst there I did a few routes (all very low key), took a few photos, and did a lot of thinking. When things are busy I find it so difficult to apply time to just thinking, it just seems so easy to find other things to do instead: go climbing (and by climbing I mean climbing,  not meandering around the woods taking photographs and thinking), check Facebook, or worry about something in a directionless and un-constructive manner etc… My mind, when left unattended, seems to become so busy with other thoughts that I stop living in a conscious manner and simply drift into autopilot. This isn’t all bad, as my autopilot is climbing – hence the fat rat is fed – but it still leaves a gap. Climbing, just as climbing, isn’t enough.

The stunning honeycomb rock features at Harrison's Rocks
The stunning honeycomb rock features at Harrison’s Rocks

Recently I have deeply questioned why I keep a blog. I have no desire to ‘go viral’, get sponsored, or promote/show-off what I’m doing – so why carry on? Well, I enjoy writing and writing keeps me thinking. But why publish it? That is where I become unstuck: I don’t know why… In fact, there are so many reasons why I shouldn’t – I am so critical of other people’s work (and my own) I find it hard to justify joining the ranks of self publicists out there.

But I do, so why??

One reason (one excuse, one justification…) is due to the inspiration of others. In recent months there has been three people/pieces in particular: Nick Bullock’s Anger is Energy, Ben Silvestre’s The Trouble with Happiness and an interview with Stephanie Bodet published on UKClimbing earlier this year. Both have echoed some of my own thoughts/feelings, yet in a far more eloquent tongue. Nick’s is poignant on several grounds and made me question the originality/independence of my own thought, writing, climbing, and life. In this day and age where we place updates on social media much like a twitch (something we’re all guilty of) I do question it’s effect on my own mental health, there’s simply too much information to compute sanely. Listening to a Radio 4 interview the other day there was an interesting interview with Razorlight (who’s music I have never listened too by the way) lead singler Johnny Borrell, after he was quoted saying:

“I don’t read the news, you find out more truth by walking down the street with a guitar”

Is he onto something or is he just sticking his head in the sand? When scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, and the BBC News I see 1001 things to worry about, some of which are of genuine and immediate interest, but the other 999 aren’t and maybe I could have learned about those by walking down the street, or by walking in the woods around Harrison’s Rocks. Whilst I can’t see me cutting off the news entirely, I can see me taking this principle and adapting it (i.e. I’ve recently deleted the Facebook App on my phone as the noise pouring into my life 24/7 was getting a little overwhelming).

Ben’s piece – The Trouble with Happiness   – encouraged looking at success and happiness in a different way. It bear resemblance to the thoughts of Stephanie Bodet, outlined with her interview on UKC earlier this year. Two lines from each compliment each-other perfectly:

“I really like the idea of the Karma-yoga of action – an act undertaken in detachment from the expectation of a result. To act for the pleasure of acting, to climb for the pleasure of climbing – without looking beyond it.” – Stephanie Bodet

“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing–and keeping the unknown always beyond you.” –  Georgia O’Keeffe

I’ve started to lose exactly where I’m going with all this, what was I talking about: was it about the walk? the woods? my climbing? motivation? happiness? interest? writing? blogging?

All of it, at once – in a single package.

I suppose where I am going with all this, in my usual roundabout way, is that the reason I continue to write, blog, walk around woods, and get emotional near the sea is because it encourages me to think and I don’t want to lose that, because without it I’m just moving upwards over pieces of rock.

Mushrooms growing on a dead tree
Mushrooms growing on a dead tree
Roots like monsters: hands creeping across the rock and tumorous heads looking onwards
Roots like monsters: hands creeping across the rock and tumorous heads looking onwards

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  1. What a truly refreshing piece of writing Bobby and the pictures are also great. The reason you publish is because mostly writers want to be read – you share your thoughts to stimulate, inspire, interest, enlighten and to do that is very rewarding for both the writer and the reader. Reading well written and thoughtful writing helps us all… reading advertising, boasting and hubris does not. Thank you for this piece… Nick

  2. invertedinterior August 9, 2015 — 11:44 am

    It took me a long time to come to terms with the necessity of publishing my writing in some format or another enough to actually do it, and feel good about it. I too never wanted to just spray, there’s far too many people doing that already. But as your article shows, creativity and inspiration is a collective experience, even if it at times feels deeply individual, and it’s only by sharing that we can really grow, both individually and collectively. I for one would be half as capable a writer and twice as lost a person had the authors who helped form me never released their works. Keep going, great article, looking forward to more.

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