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."


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

2 comments:

  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

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  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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