Sunday, July 28, 2013

Such Great Heights

Early June.

A half hour into the bush, slapping black flies and wiping away the occasional bead of sweat from my forehead.  The canopy of trees overhead does a half-decent job of filtering most of the sun's heat, keeping the forest floor relatively cool.

My calves are only just beginning to ache as I struggle to keep up.  I've never been what you would call "built for speed," and I keep my eyes mostly to the ground, watching for stumps and rocks that threaten to trip me up.  

A faint rumble in the distance becomes stronger as we make our way down the trail.  Through a break in the trees I catch glimpses of rushing water.  Stopping, I am given the option of waiting while he makes his way down the steep embankment leading to the river's edge.

I am new to this and eager to prove myself, so I start a careful descent.  The trail is narrow, barely wider than my foot, and I must walk a tight-rope down a slope blanketed in wet leaves and pine needles.

I have stood on balconies, ten stories up and laughed.  I have danced on the glass floor of the CN tower and not even blinked, even engaging in a mock jig hundreds of feet above the city sidewalk, secure in the engineering that had prevented thousands before me from plummeting to their death.

But here on this rock face I do not trust my legs.  i do not trust my feet.  The ground is slippery, the nearby branches too thin and pliable to support my weight and suddenly I am paralyzed.  My feet plant themselves to the ground and I can feel panic rising in my chest.  Tears spring to my eyes and I begin to whimper.  Every attempt to unstick my foot results in a shaking of the knees and the feeling that the ground is melting beneath me. I feel myself tipping and in my minds eye I can see my body, bleeding and broken, on the rocky outcroppings below.  I begin to shake with fear.

From below, soothing words of encouragement begin to break through my cloud of tears.  Hands reach up to steady me.  Clumsily, I lower myself to the muddy ground, feeling moisture seep through the seat of my pants as I manage to skootch my way down the remaining few feet of the rocky ledge by way of my butt, sniffling and making strained, squeaking noises, until I find myself once again on solid, flat ground, wrapped in arms that stroke my hair and whisper reassurances until the panic subsides.

"It's okay.  You're good. You've done well."


This post is in response to Studio30plus weekly writing prompt. This week's prompt is "Falling"


  1. Awesome story! Loved it... really. I was with you, out of breath and shaking. You have done well! Thanks for linking up, I was just about to change the prompts too! ;)

    p.s. first sentence needs something else, like it's incomplete, read it again you'll see what i mean

  2. Ooh, I was drawn in immediately. Great flow - and painted just enough without being overly descriptive! Linking up from S30+! Thanks for sharing =) Looking forward to reading more...


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