a vital, basic, decisive, or pivotal point; something that torments by its puzzling nature; a perplexing difficulty.
“Crux.” Def. 1 & 3. Dictionary.com. Web. 27 Apr 2010.
“Dad, I can’t do it,” said the young boy.
“Reach your left hand about half a foot!” Dad said.
“My arms are getting tired. I’m ready to come down!”
“Buddy, you’re so close to the top! Rest on your legs for a minute.”
The boy nestled into the footholds, weighting his legs but still gripping the rock.
“You ready?” said Dad.
The afternoon wind muffled the boys response.
“What was that?” said Dad, louder this time.
“I guess so!” yelled the boy sharply.
Dad smiled, never once taking his eyes off his little boy. “You’re gonna have to trust me on this. You’re not going to fall. I’ve got you.”
The boy looked down, then up, then down again.
“I can’t see it!”
“Trust me son, it’s there. I can see the entire route from here. Stretch your legs and reach with your left hand. You’ll feel it.”
Twice the boy’s arm extended halfway then snapped back, as if reaching to pet a snarling dog.
“I can’t do it!” The boy’s eyes were bouncing between the rock face and the distant ground below. “Dad, where are you?” he yelled.
“I’m right here!” Dad said, holding the belay rope with his braking hand and waving with the other.
He knew the difficulty in teaching his son to trust his voice alone. And the rope? What rope? The boy had forgotten about the rope and safety harness. Fear was crippling his vision of reality, and Dad knew it. He felt alone, and Dad knew that, too. His son had reached the crux of the route.
“That’s it son, step into the foothold and reach a little farther! You’ve got this!”
The boy clung motionless, like a squirrel frozen on a tree trunk. And with squirrel-like speed he made his move, reaching the place of decision and driving the shovel deep into his heart’s desire, one last time. He went all in. He had trusted his father’s voice.
“That’s it buddy! You got it! You got it!”
The boy, now erupting with confidence, had found the hold. He climbed over the jutted rock and tagged the top as if he’d done it a hundred times before.
“You sure did! Ready to come down?” Dad already knew the answer.
“Not yet! I want to do this again!”