David Ross (dyvyd) wrote,
David Ross

Greece 18: Xombourgo Summit

As a youth I don't recall ever having had much vertigo.  I was a tree climber, rock climber, house climber-- well, I would climb whatever I could. In teenage  years I began using ropes and pulleys but stopped suddenly when I fell from an oak tree and broke my wrist.  I distinctly remember having had absolute balance in those days, a sure knowledge of where to block the pull of gravity, a precise feeling of the difference between up and down.

Such knowledge seemed to have left me while I was in Greece.  Greek "down-ness" was somehow more mysterious than the kind I was used to.  It might be directly under my feet, or it might be just a few feet over-- over far enough to make me vulnerable to the whipping wind and slippery rocks, to pull me off the narrow steps of the mountain path and suck me into the rooftops of the myriad white-blocked villages below.

Faint and wobbly-kneed I continued to the top and planted myself firmly against the several-meters-high cross that stood there.  I kept myself between the cross and the wind.  If the wind were to blow me away, it would have to take that cross too!  And then I tried to enjoy the view, all the while feeling like I was clinging to the mast of a boat rocking at sea.

These faux mountaintops like Xombourgo and Arthur's Seat were proving to be challenging enough to me! Perhaps I should abandon my plan to someday "walk" to the top of Kilimanjaro, or, in my supreme fantasy, the top of Aconcagua in South America?  After all, I remember that, as I ascended the last thirty steps to Arthur's Seat, hunched over and nearly crawling on my hands and knees, a jogger pranced by me both ways and was probably having coffee in an Edinburgh Cafe before I was halfway back down.

Unfamiliarity breeds unease, perhaps, and the challenge had not been nearly as physical as it had been psychological.
Though I had prevailed, I wished that it had been rather more enjoyable.

Tags: greece

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