An Analogy: Part 2

Link to Part 1 of this analogy.

11 - October - 2008 -- Crib Goch
There is less rope in this supporting image than I hoped for.

The grappling hook finds firm purchase around a sturdy tree-trunk. I tug at the rope a couple of times to make certain it won’t come loose. Then I start to climb.

At first my footing is secure and I make steady progress up the embankment. About halfway up my footholds start to crumble. A stream of soil dribbles downward. I scurry but the dribble grows into a rushing torrent of matter. The ground disappears beneath my feet but I don’t let go of that rope. My fingers ache. My feet find no purchase. There is strain in my arms, my shoulders, my back. My body rages against my will.

For a time I think of just letting go. The fight is too hard. The potential reward too remote.

“Climb!” she shouts at me, “We need you up here!”

And so I climb.

I’m almost at the top. An arm reaches down over the edge towards me. I grasp the extended hand. Soon I’ll be able to see what it looks like from up there.

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An Analogy

Floating rag pickerImagine a deep gulley with muddy slippery sides. Along the bottom of the gulley runs a stream of water.

The water was once clear, but since it ran its course into the gulley it has turned murky. The polluted water churns up rancorous odours.

A raft of strapped-together flotsam and driftwood wobbles on the surface, rushing along the gulley. I stand upon the raft, balancing precariously and feeling slightly nauseous — a result of the combined influence of the fumes from the water and the rocking motion of the stream. I take a wide steady stance, and ready the rope and grappling hook I hold in my hands.

I look up to the top of the walls of the gulley. I see branches of trees up there, rushing past. Perhaps the stream will eventually lead to a tranquil pond, but right now the only way out seems to be to cast my rope at the branches of the trees. I’m not very good at casting rope at tree branches.

The grappling hook actually caught firmly a couple of times, but every time I lost my grip on the rope and fell in the muck.

I managed to scramble back on to the raft those times, but the ordeal left me exhausted and I just lay still for a while and let the water take me where it wanted to. The gulley seems to go on forever, as does my supply of rope and grappling hooks.

Another branch approaches. I cast the rope. The hook scratches at the muddy soil at the top. Puffs of dust rise up from the impact. Grains of clotted sand run down the embankment and splash into the grey-brown water. The hook slips past the branch and plunges downward. I draw the wet and smelly rope back on to the raft.

The above is essentially the news of my life at the moment. At any particular point in time I am either on the raft, in the crappy water, throwing hooks at tree branches, or stuffing about with a rope. It isn’t worthwhile to write about it much because, frankly, the story is quite dull. The raft never changes. The water never changes. The steep incline out of the gulley never changes. The branches I attempt to catch a hold of all look roughly similar, although the trees to which the branches are attached are probably all quite different.

Once I finally get a firm hold of a branch and drag myself out of the gulley, I’ll let you all know what the new view is like.