Sunday, June 30, 2013

Great Heights

I recall talking with a friend of mine
as we stood on a boat inches away from a glacial river
about being afraid of heights.

“You know what I feel when I get too near the edge?”
he asked, leaning out to tighten a nut on the outside
of the cabin, one hand clutching a wrench, the other
gripping the rail. “I feel like I want to jump.”

I considered that idea as I wondered what I would do
if he lost his grip. A life ring and a length of line
hung behind the ladder to the bridge.

“Not me, man,” I shuddered to imagine approaching the rim
of a high cliff, or a building taller than two stories.
“I can barely stand watching someone else up high.”

I thought about how twitchy I get at scenes in movies
when a character is flirting with certain disaster
near a precipice.

My friend finished the tightening,
stood and handed me the wrench. “Never
think twice about it unless I’m there,” he smiled.

That was it. In the blink of an eye I decided
I never wanted to climb mountains
or anything else with him.

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