The echo of my breathing bounces off this cracked, golden plane. The fissure forces my movement, but I curve my hips and torque my jams so gravity won't get me. A ring lock and then a solid thin hand let me reach for a lonely edge. I set the left toe jam, flag hard with my right leg, and come face to face with a hand jam. A quick karate chop puts my hand in the saving slot, but something goes wrong. The usual contraction of muscle that allows a jam to work never initiates and in a timeless moment, I painfully watch my hand, and my hopes of completing this line, slip away.
Spinning at the end of the rope, I feel a sort of nothingness. No anger, no happiness, no excitement. The tall, red walls around me seem unmoved by my effort. I gave it all I had, but today my best needed to be better.
On the ground I pack my gear and watch the tie dye sky . It's so peaceful now, here, in this moment. In this temple I find a sort of clarity. The finishing of a project brings joy, but failure can bring fiery pain. I feel neither and I know why. I am still in the middle of this climb, even though I am not tethered to its walls. I have not failed, but rather, have made another step towards success. This journey may take longer than others, but such is the nature of climbing and life. A content smile cracks my face. I shoulder my pack, take one last look around, and step into the darkening desert.