By: V.I.

*The following poem was written about a pivotal time in my life. When I read it aloud to my husband, he admitted that he had no idea what it meant. He said it sounded like another language! So, I went through line by line and deciphered it for him. As he discovered the hidden story, he told me some people just don’t get poetry. So, I realized that adding a translation (in parentheses) might be helpful!*

When I think of you, it’s all uphill from there. (When I remember climbing, it’s hard)


Unattainable. (I can never achieve that feeling again)

dusty white. (climbing/gymnastic chalk in the air)

floating to a tire chipped floor. (covering the climbing gym rubber flooring)

Craggy and high. (The cliffs I climbed were tall and I was afraid of heights)

Towering (How the competition wall at the World Championships looked to me)

Those matted walls. (Climbing gym walls were painted in scratchy textured paint)

Blue eyes and smiles. (The eyes of my teammates and their friendship)

An open door. (Opportunities were given to me)

Sparkling. SPARKling. (Climbing made a fire in my soul)

Like lightning. (Becoming a strong climber happened so fast)

And Ananya. And (The scent I took with me to competition isolation rooms)

weathered sweatshirt cuffs. (my favorite climbing sweatshirt was broken in)

Worn. Torn. Yet indestructible. (I wore it for years and it made me feel safe)

Hands are holding. (With my little hands, I reached the summits….)

the highest peak (…of very high mountains)

The amber stone. (The color of cliffs I climbed)

Sunrise circles (I saw many sunrises when I went rock climbing)

To consume. (I soaked them in, they’re burned into my memory)

Places un-nameable. (I climbed too numerous routes to count)

Unspeakable lines. (Bad things happened and I was injured physically and emotionally)

Creator’s betrayal (I was betrayed, I betrayed myself and I betrayed someone else)

Indeed was mine (I owned it)

brought (repercussions were harsh)

Insurmountable distance. (I drifted apart from my teammates and climbing partners)

and spaces. (I stopped climbing competitively)

With that (As a result)

A swish of time. (Years passed)


A street sign. (I started to go and watch climbing competitions again)

A shouted hello and goodbye. (I was excited to be there but would detach when I left)

A cup of coffee and we go. (Climbers drink a lot of coffee!)

How many times? (So many climbing memories)

What measure of miles? (There were lots of road trips)

Travel and then… (I would run towards climbing)

Turn around again. (And then I’d run away)

There. (I found myself in climbing)

There it was. (I climbed again)

And there. (I got to meet my climbing hero)

Carelessly lost. (But then I walked away)

Relinquished. (I let it all go)


is too late, (Can I turn back time?)

Too late? (Am I too old?)

Was it

then? (I lost it so many times)

Or then. (I gave up)

Or is it now? (Maybe it’s not too late)

Now found. (Nope, it’s never too late!)

In a sea. (My emotions)

That covers (include)

An ocean of regret. (A wish that I had seized the day)

Over the ages (As I get older)

I am (I realize)

Relieved. (The regret has faded)

Relived. (Because I can return there in my mind)

Released. (I overcame over the loss)

A love of the love (The love of the sport is in my heart forever)

Rises above (Becomes clear)

the traffic (The events that spanned years)

And noise. (And all the crap that happened)

In a world (In my life)

No longer of void. (I no longer feel the emptiness that climbing left behind)

Can you see? (Look into my eyes)

The discovery. (I’ve figured it out)

Of the longing (The desire to recapture that time)

Which (Finally!)

Longs no more? (I don’t need to recapture it anymore)

Fly little pan (Peter Pan is a sign of that time in my youth)

Fly like you do. (My youth is gone because I set it free)

And when you come back (But I can always return to that time)

Your soul will be waiting for you. (Because that time lives on in my soul)

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