Thursday, April 2, 2009

Once a month

Have you ever stood at the edge of a cliff, or on the roof of a tall building and been terrified? I'm not afraid of heights, but I do, at least once during a visit to the top of a mountain or a rooftop, get a quick flash of terror as I contemplate my capabilities. It wouldn't take more than a slip of the foot, or leaning forward a little too far to send me tumbling to my death. This is what makes me tremble. This is what makes me catch my breath and take a step back. As much as I enjoy life, enjoy the rise and fall of the days, it doesn't take much to send me tumbling down the mountain, and it's rarely a slip of the foot. It's almost always a lean just a little too far. I arrive at the apex of a situation, lean forward because the view just isn't quite good enough, and I'm gone.

I feel fine. I am fine, but I feel like I'm tumbling down a mountainside. I don't feel so much as if I'm in a free fall, I just feel like I'm tumbling, bumping things, scraping myself up, praying that I don't hit my head. There's more time to think while tumbling, or maybe there's less time to think. Perhaps there is more time to think when in a free fall. I imagine myself holding my breath, thinking of all the ways I could have avoided leaning too far forward, looking back up at the roof-top, waiting to make contact with the earth. I say I'm tumbling because the fall may not be as hard. I am in contact with the earth as I fall, and I may find a small plateau to catch me before I do any more damage in tumbling, a precipice that will allow me to dust myself off and continue up the mountain. It's almost humorous in my mind, like Homer Simpson falling off a cliff and slamming into everything trying to find something to grab onto. I've done this, I've looked too far, and now, as I should have known, I'm tumbling.

I've been in a free fall before, I know what that feels like. I know that terror. This is less terrifying, and I don't know why.

We are all just one step away from tumbling down the mountain. We are all just one inch away from a free-fall. I guess that's what makes life so exciting. I guess that's why we climb mountains or visit the roof-tops of the tallest buildings. It gives us a clear picture of our capabilities.

Dude, do not slip.

1 comment:

chrishaley said...

I'm so glad you mentioned the Homer Simpson thing, because (not surprisingly) that was the first thing that popped into my mind when you mentioned someone falling down a cliff/mountain.