Today marks one week that I have been laid up with injury. The days have crept by slowly, and the nights have felt interminable, hours seeping through the air like the languid flow of blood beneath my wounds. At its worst, my own pulse was a scream in the quiet dark.

This fragility of body is something that I have not felt in quite some time – the last eighteen months have seen me at my peak. Having never been athletic before, at least not passionately so, since beginning to climb I have seen positive transformations in myself that I never thought I would witness. I have never felt so strong, vital. So capable.

And so it was with such great shock that I reacted to lower back trauma, the debilitation of a group of muscles that amount to silent heroes in our daily lives, aiding in the performance of even the simplest tasks of movement without recognition or active gratitude. Never again will I take my lumbar for granted, and will forever appreciate being able to dress myself or sit up straight without arresting pain.

Given enough time, debilitation of the body turns to debilitation of the spirit, at least for a short while, the erosion of morale like waves against the shore. And then the ache is absorbed into the daily condition, another fact of life. Until the last bricks fall, and the dust begins to settle, and once again there is hope.

Climbing is inherently dangerous – it’s written on every gym wall, a reminder so constant that it fades into the babble, is lost as noise. It begs no attention and yet is such a stern truth, is the promise of smoke without fire.