I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

women in trees

The start of all this must be that I am afraid of heights. I once went on a small climbing wall that A had quickly scaled, then nimbly rappelled down. I started, got weak-kneed and weak-armed near the top, then did reach the top but stayed there, contemplating just how high I was and would I ever get down, and could I really place much confidence in that little bit of a harness around me? I get dizzy atop a ladder. When we visited the CN Tower I stood well back from the lookout, after all, can you really trust it? And looking over balconies in high buildings has never been my thing. Well, unless I'm inching forward on my belly.

Then Seren arranged an event for the women at our church: a day in the lovely Gatineau hills, tree walking. Not hiking among trees, but going through obstacle courses mounted at between 30 and 60 feet up the sides of trees. Huge old beeches, maples, and pine trees had little platforms (oh, so very little and so very fragile looking from the ground!) on the trunks and wires (oh, so thin looking!) extending between. The objective was to go through the course, going from tree to tree via anything from rope bridges, to tightropes, to swinging logs (which I christened the "Swinging Logs of Doom" as soon as I set eyes on them).

I am afraid of heights.

I decided, this will be a challenge and I will defeat it.

And R came with me, being tall enough to take part herself. Over granola for breakfast, we had pledged with a high five to be each other's encourager.

I was scared, I almost froze at a few points, R was near tears and wanted to turn back after the first of six sections. Why did the bridges have to wobble and swing so much? Why did the next log step swing away from me just when I needed it most? Who thought up this insanity in the first place? And if the bridges weren't enough, the zip lines were almost more scary to contemplate since that meant leaving the safety of the little platforms while hanging from a pulley attached to the very fetching harnesses we wore. The platforms seemed much more substantial when one had to contemplate pushing off from them to sail through the air.

But we encouraged, we attacked, and we did it. We did it! Oh, the adrenaline, the calling to each other from the treetops: "you are a warrior woman!", the laughter, the whoops and screams as we flew through the air on the zip lines. Twenty-nine of us went and we all felt like conquerors.

R, after her initial fear, amazed me and I think found courage in herself she hadn't expected. It was a good lesson that sometimes being brave doesn't mean you're not scared, it means you keep going when you are. Soon into the third section, her fear had been replaced with a mix of determination and excitement, and at the end of the day she was thrilled to have done it and so glad she hadn't let the fear stop her.

Another trip is planned for the fall, when the aerial route will be in full leaf and look entirely different in more ways than just leaf cover. After all, it won't look so scary to me. I've done this before, right?


Heather said...

Andrew has done this course too and had a great time even though he is not one for heights. He is trying another site in a few weeks and A11 is a little miffed that she as a rehearsal and cannot go with him.

futsaldreamer said...

LOL - I called them the "Evil logs from Hell"