Brave (not)

Chistopher Robin and glassesI wanted to give CR a bungee jump off the Royal Gorge bridge for his birthday. (Not me, HIM.) Turns out they only do it once a year, and this is not it. So I settled for a very high swing that catapults the rider over empty space 1000 feet in the air. Again, not me. I have trouble walking over the bridge. It’s a suspension bridge, so it sways a little, and the floor is made of wooden slats, and you can see through the cracks to the river below. I’m sure you would have enjoyed the photo, had I been physically able to shoot it, but we all have our limitations. I had to hold on to CR’s arm all the way across. (Really, it’s a very funny joke that I should have been born in a place with so many high places.)

Royal Gorge Bridge from below

Still, it was a great day. Fresh dustings of snow, the place practically deserted, bright sunshine. I love the little train to the bottom of the gorge (though if you go in winter, be prepared for bone-chilling cold down there), mainly for this shot of the bridge, so very very very high above.

Then CR suited up for his big ride–swinging over that vastness:

getting ready to fly

At which point, my camera refused to take any more photos. Luckily, I had my cell phone:

I have this Walter Mitty idea of myself, that I could actually go on The Amazing Race and do something like rappell face first down a skyscraper, but every time something like this comes up, I know it’s a big fat delusion. CR, however, will jump off the bridge one of these days. He appears to be so mild mannered…and he is not.

What petrifies you?

6 thoughts on “Brave (not)

  1. Also, heights. On a trip to San Francisco many years ago, my dad and my ex walked about 6 feet out onto the Golden Gate Bridge and I completely freaked out until they returned to safety.

    So, yeah, I doubt I’ll be giving any jumping trips to ANYONE soon, much less me!

  2. Yvonne Erwin


    One Small Voice.

    I was thinking about the Great Ice Storm of 2007 as I read your post. Never mind that I also am afraid of heights and the day we went up Pike’s Peak, Ken kept trying to pull me to the side, to have a great view of the mountain and I was nearly ready to faint. Couldn’t do it. The closer I got to the edge, the more I felt myself catapulting forward, out of control, down into the abyss.

    No, back to the ice storm. Here in Missouri, we don’t often get snow. Oh, maybe an inch here and a couple of inches there, but nothing for Christmas (as transplanted Minnesotan, I find that almost insulting), but really, nothing to get all excited about. What we get is freezing rain. And in January 2007, we got a horrific storm.

    I am deathly afraid of ice. If I had my way, I would lock my doors and not come out until spring when ice hits. I am a chicken shit.

    I remember January 12, 2007, being a rotten day. A day from ice hell. Cold, rainy, icy and just all around uncomfortable. The temperature dropped all day. Rain, turning to ice. Tense. Something’s coming next but just what is it. I hate to drive on ice, such a chicken, but there I was in the throng, navigating my little Xterra home in the dark, in the freezing rain, on uncertain streets, white knuckled at the wheel. I told myself if the power went out, which had happened before, that City Utilities would have the matter fixed in an hour. They always had before. No problem. And so, in my blissful ignorance, I crawled on home and sat on my couch, thinking I was lucky to have made it home and all would be fine.

    What an idiot.

    Trees started breaking off their branches. If you’ve never heard the crack of tree limbs as they separate from their trees and fall, don’t wish for it. It’s horrible. It’s frightening. Ice slapped against the house and not gently either. And the rain just kept coming on. Relentless, that’s the word.

    We lost power at 8:30 pm on that Friday. At first, I thought, being a Minnesotan, this is like camping. Oh wow. We’d been through this before when I was a kid. What fun. AND City Utilities would have the power back on in an hour.Or at least by morning.

    All night we lay in bed, listening to the crack of thunder and the splitting of trees, rain beating the house, the crash of limbs, the fatal crash of the entire tree. Three storms passed through that weekend. Three. And with each one, more devastation, more ice, more terror. I live on the north end of town, which is not highly regarded by the rest of the city. Our end was black. Pitch black. No power for blocks and blocks, miles and miles. City Utilities called in the National Guard. They called workers from other states. Everywhere I looked, my area looked as if a bomb had gone off. Trees uprooted and lying in the road, limbs hanging to the street level, cables of every sort hanging and dragging everywhere. People were reporting trees going through their roofs, landing on their cars. Everything was coated in a thick silver coat of ice. What a mess. There was one way out and one way into my neighborhood and that was blocks out of the way. It was like death. Just cold and gray and ruined. The temperature dropped to 16 degrees below zero. There were no hotels to go to, no family to go to, nothing. My sons and I crowded together under blankets on the couch, watching a tiny 4 inch tv, powered with batteries, until we went to bed, which we did fully clothed. All of the food in the freezer and refigerator went bad. We ate cold meats out of a cooler. The saving grace for us was our wood stove. We kept that thing fired up 24-7; however, without the blowers, it was less than efficient. I thank God for that stove. We were a hair better off than some. Our pipes luckily did not break. I also had every faucet in the house trained on a drip.

    As I walked through the house, I was impressed at how heavy cold air is. It was like plowing my way through the place. Cold air is a force to be reckoned with. It’s not gentle. It’s mean.

    And the local tv news team stood on the south end of town, in front of one tree that had fallen and broadcasted the horrible devastation. If they only knew.

    By day three, I was done with the camping thing. The National Guard had bypassed our area. The tree crews, the City Utilities people did not come. And we were still without power. Other areas were getting power but it was entirely black, and oh so eerie where I live.

    I was fed up. True, my area is full of older homes, mature trees and overhead lines but why was no one coming around? NO ONE. I went to the laundramat one morning and it was packed. Nobody had a way to wash their clothes. The talk was, why isn’t City Utilities coming around the north end? Why are they concentrating on the south end of town? We all read the city newspaper. Our City Utilities manager insisted every day that he was not favoring one area over another but hey, this town is nothing without its politics and everyone now had power but us. And still, no National Guard, no tree trimmers, no City Utilities anyplace.

    On my way home from work, I would drive up National Avenue and at one point, someone posted a sign – xx days without power and our City Utilites Manager’s name – are you warm? The sign said. At first, I thought it was disrespectful. But with every passing dark, depressing, cold, frightening day, I started thinking, hey you, are you warm, Mr. City Utilities?

    I became incensed. Once in awhile I feel behooved and I felt behooved this time. I wrote a letter to our City Utilities Manager and “splained” the situation to him. We were now eight days without power. Our end of town was now the only end that had not been “seen to.”

    Two days later, probably the day my letter landed on the City Utilites Manager’s desk, we had City Utilites crews EVERYWHERE. It was as if we had been the “forgotten nation.” We had tree trimmers. It was incredible. Truly, I don’t know whether it was my letter that sparked it and I will never know for sure but I do know that we sat in the dark and the cold for eight days while the manpower was concentrated on the south end of town and two days after my letter went out, we started getting attention. I don’t know much but I do know that it only takes one small voice and a mountain can be moved. Maybe that was my voice and my mountain. I will never know. I did recieve back a very nice letter from our City Utilities Manager thanking me for my concern about my area. Eight days after the initial storm, our area had power. A couple of things happened. For whatever reason, City Utlities stopped personally at my home and inquired as to our comfort level and, when things went awry a couple days later, they were there again to fix the situation.

    Funny thing, we had another ice storm in 2008 and my area got first attention.

    But the bottem line is, I hate ice. I am scared to death of it.

    And maybe after that, if you are the small voice, use it. It could count for something. Believe it or not, this version of the Great Ice Storm of 2007 has been condensed. There is much more but I don’t want to bore anyone. So, that’s it.

  3. Wow, that is one amazing story, Yvonne. I remember once traveling by train in Missouri, and the trees were coated in ice like that. I thought it was incredibly beautiful. My ex shook his head at my lack of experience.

    Julie–the Golden Gate is scary? I’m sad. This summer, I want to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. I wonder if it is, too?

  4. I had sweaty palms and held my breath most of the way across the Royal Gorge bridge. One of my friends who was with me practically skipped across.

    I’ve never forgotten it or the view…

  5. The Golden Gate is just freakin’ high! I walked across the bridge on the Freedom Trail in Boston a few years ago and survived. And it was amazing because it’s made out of some gridlike metal material and it hums constantly in different notes for each vehicle that crosses it, and often many at once, like a crazy weird song! People probably thought I was rather strange for using my camera to video the sound.

    I don’t know what the Brooklyn Bridge is like.

  6. admin

    Rosie, the view is definitely worth it.

    I wonder why some people are so afraid of heights and others are not. It is my worst phobia. By far.

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