Thrilling Heights

When I was a child I loved to stand on the edge of things, the higher up the thing was the happier I would be to get to the edge. There was something thrilling and daring about being right on the edge of adventure, but still grounded on the solid ledge.

My mother would inevitably discover me standing far too close to something and whisk me away or yell at me to get back to safety. Safety would be determined based on the distance of the potential drop as well as what I could strike on my way down. The further the drop, or the more pointy objects I might strike as I was following meant safety was that much further away from the edge.

The more my mother pulled me back from the edge of something, the more likely I was to get closer to teetering on the ledge of something else, typically much higher. This all would result in a cycle of her feeling a need to express the potential dangers I was putting myself in, and of course I would then have to find something else to drive her blood pressure up.

One of my favorite things to do was to flop down on the ground which just happened to be the spine of a steep hill. Down below would be a gurgling creek on one side and to the other side, another down slope covered in large, unyielding trees. I could be up  there watching the clouds move by or read a book for hours upon end for it was a place my mother came.

She was afraid of heights; basically anything over two feet off the ground was “high” and anything that had no safety rails was the work of the devil so she never came up onto the rolling hills. My father had taken me up there a few times, he even held me steady as I rushed down the hillside, marveling in the speed and the way gravity made the down portion of the trip so easy.

To this day I am thrilled to head up to higher ground and look around, study what lies below and marvel at how different things are when you are above them. Tree tops look different when you are peering down at them for example. I revel in the freedom being above provides me, and perhaps the knowledge that some people will simply not travel with me to high places. To this day I feel the need to push things closer to the edge, to see where the tipping point happens to be. I trust that I will find my balance as I hit these tipping points, but I don’t really know if that will be the case. A part of me accepts that I may not find the balance and actually fall while another part of me ignores the whole what-if factor. It’s easy to ignore the danger when you either do not understand it or get too caught up and simply forget that it is there.

Life, in some ways, is far too short to worry about things like breaking a bone or such. But at the same time, life is precious and many a person has had his/her life altered significantly by the fall. I guess it’s what you make of it.

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