via Daily Prompt: Climbing is definitely not something that appeals to me. Neither is anything too strenuous or active for that matter! But climbing is part and parcel of childhood and as I grew up in the countryside, outdoor play was an important part of my childhood. Climbing trees, walls or climbing hills and mountains never lit my fire, the very opposite in fact. In summer when the hay in our back garden or ‘haggart’ as it was known, was cut and bailed we would play ‘tig’ a game of chase, around the hay bales for hours on end. The bales would be stacked on top of each other to dry and I was happy to climb and make cabbie houses in, around and on top of those stacked bales. We probably had biceps as good as any of today’s regular gym goer from the vast amount of bales we dragged from one part of our haggart to another to construct our hay castles. We would play from early in the morning ’til late into the evenings, only going indoors when we were hungry or called for dinner. We were always a little sad when the tractor and trailer arrived to tear down our amazing hay creations and transport them to our neighbour’s haybarn. Friday night was bath night, yes, crazy by today’s standards to think we got a bath once a week and we shared the water as well! I can still recall the burning, stinging pain when my many deep scrapes from the rough edges of the coarse hay came in contact with the warm bath water. There was nothing for it but Sudocrem, which had to be applied in lavish amounts to the grases after the bath. Often on Sundays my mam would pack a picnic and my dad would drive us to the Comeragh mountains outside Carrick on Suir. This was before the introduction of safety belts and penalty points and luckily my dad was a safe driver because the car would hold three generations, our Nana, two parents and four children! We often climbed parts of the mountain heading to lake Coumshingaun. This lake was said to be bottomless. It was also, reportedly, inhabited by the devil. The devil must have liked a change from the fires of hell if he could tolerate the cold of that lake because even on the warmest day in summer we would come shivering and blue out of that mountain water. I preferred it when we would walk the winding but relatively level mountain path into the beautiful waterfall. After our walk we would park at a ‘table and chairs’ picnic area to eat our fresh roast chicken and drink coke chilled in the mountain stream. I can see that enchanting forest now in my minds eye as clear as I saw it back when I was 9 or 10. After a day or two of heavy rain the stream turned into a tumbling, thundering, torent of water, fighting its way over and around pebbles, rocks and bolders, chasing its way down stream. We ran alongside that stream, as free and as happy as spring lambs released into a lush green meadow. We stepped from rocks to bolders, navigating our way from one bank of the mountain stream to the other. We often came a-cropper, grazing hands and knees as the slippery rocks caught us unawares and the Sudocrem had to come to our rescue again. But the years slip past and childhood adventures give way to the pursuit of first jobs, first love and young marriage. The transient hay castles replaced by the permanence of bricks and mortar. The journey; probably akin to the climb of childhood, has its own slips and falls, as life pushes onwards, advancing with each year as we scramble to achieve more and amass possessions. Then one day if we’re lucky we wake up and realise that the climbing is not only important, it is vital and it comes with, at long last, the realisation that it is not what has been amassed that matters but rather that the climb is to a place of awareness. A place where we are comfortable in our own skin, where we know with certainty what we hold dear in life and to a place where we are free, free from the judgement of others and above all free from self judgement. Then and only then, we realises that the climbing has been worthwhile!