Tuesday, February 5, 2008

If I can do it, you can too!

The quality of my vacations with my sons took a radical turn for the better when I conquered my fear of heights. Since our vacations involved nature, and experiencing nature involves trails over sloping terrain, and trails over sloping terrain involve places where the ground drops of steeply on one side, there were many occasions in the fear of heights days where my mood approached hysteria as my children approached edges. I made them walk on the extreme inner edge of the path or hold my hand and there was much tension. Especially traumatic were the drives up into the mountains near Phoenix or Tucson. Then one year I got over it. We decided I needed to get my landscape design mess out of the dining room into an office, and so we added a story over the garage. I asked the builders to make the stairs first so that I could get up there and participate and be involved and they recognized that idea for the folly it was and refused. So day after day as the fun of demolition of the roof and assembly of the new floor and walls went on, I watched longingly from below. They builders prodded me daily and teased me to just come up the ladders and look. They made supportive offers, too, to hold the ladder or help me up at the top. Finally, it got the better of me and I climbed up. When I got to the point where panic set in, I stopped, stood there on that rung until I calmed down, looked around at the status of the project as best I could from that level, and climbed down. I did this every day, sometimes several times. And every so often, I was able to make it one step higher before panic took hold. But I was too curious to back down, so each time, I stayed there until panic subsided, then committed my nosy inspections. Gradually, I was able to make it to the top, and gradually, I was able to swing myself from the ladder to the new floor, and gradually, I was able, as the stud framing was complete, to go to the edge without panic. Soon, I was hanging onto a stud and leaning out over air to take a dramatic photo back toward the partly completed building. I was through with my fear of heights! I was not sure until the following spring break whether it would carry to the real world, but it did. Since then, we have taken many of those former hell-drives up the steep winding mountain roads and I am careful but not afraid. We have backpacked the Grand Canyon, I have gone with the boys rock climbing in Kentucky, backpacked 50 miles with the Boy Scouts in the Daniel Boone National Wilderness , hiked and backpacked in many places in Arizona and California, and planted a roof edge garden in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. There too, I am careful but not afraid. Thanks, Barry and sons, for the good-natured taunting and the encouragement and the support to climb that ladder just a little farther every day until the fear was gone!


The Kept Woman said...

Before you know it you'll be taking trapeeze lessons.

Mom Cat said...

How about bungee jumping?!

goprairie said...

i am brave, not stupid. no to skydiving, no to scuba diving, would love to fly a plane but you have to take book lessons involving science and math first, actually have a gift certificate for a baloon ride, but i did go on this thing in Kentucky called Via Ferratta - where you are clipped into a cable and climb on the cliff walls on iron foot holds - it was 'a challenge' but great fun. road trip????