Friday, December 21, 2012

12 Favourite Things in 2012 #4 El Chorro video

When a concussion laid me out in bedrest for most of the summer of 2012, I thought often of this video. I have been quite addicted to the home movies that flood youtube made by climbers (and many non-climbers, terrifyingly) who decide to walk the dangerous, perilously narrow and officially closed 'El Caminito Del Rey' walkway in the El Chorro Gorge of Southern Spain. Built in 1905 for workers to maintain the gorge, in the more than 100 years since it has fallen into disastrous disrepair with entire sections of it completely missing. What draws me to these videos is a complete awe for something I would both want to do and be never capable of. In this one, made by a multimedia artist in the UK who is also featured in it, I love how much her experience matches what I project would be mine, if I were ever to have that kind of courage and knew how to climb. Not far apart in age (and therefore distinct from the young leaping 20somethings that otherwise people these home movies), I feel a kinship to her fear and amazement. 

Most of all however, I am transfixed by the via ferrata, a thin cable that is attached to the walls of the gorge by which climbers make their way along, and which allows a measure of safety in scaling the non-walkway bits. To me the via ferrata is a metaphor for faith. A person walks the perilous walkways of life holding onto the thin rope of faith which may, or more possibly, may not, be enough in moments of greatest trial. So, lying in bed through July recovering, unable to imagine even standing upright without paralyzing imbalance, I thought of that via ferrata and the number of times the woman here has to surrender herself to the risk. In faith, we are often required to do this, to step with courage into an abyss, taking careful steps, not looking down and holding on to the rope.

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