Suspended Between Earth and Sky

The breeze passed through the tree trunks below, unhindered, as the sun shined through the canopy and myriad of voices were heard amongst the surrounding; some above, some below.  Some encouraging, some concerned for their own safety.  In the midst of a darkened metal space one thought pushed out all the rest: “I will not fear; fear is the mind killer,  fear is the little death that brings total annihilation.  I will face my fear, I will let my fear pass though me so that when it is gone only  I will remain”.  Repeated.  Over, and over and over again as one unstable foot tried to slowly slide its way along; a first step into a larger world, in this case a much higher world.  The wood beam, the ropes, could they be trusted when paired with a sense of balance so bad? Maybe, just maybe.

Off to one side, a foot misses and the spiral begins.  Suddenly downward movement occurs and the steel wire is at eye level and uncontrolled forward momentum is toward a awaiting tree is suddenly arrested..  Down below there is nothing; above, the canopy and the steel line connected to the harness.  Rest, just rest; don’t freak out.  Stuck in the middle only able to go forward; but how?  If Spider-Man where here he’s just web-swing his way out; not an option.  Legs? Dead weight…

This was the scene as I hung, suspended, several stories above the ground recently while traversing a tight-rope element in West Virginia.  I’m no stranger to high adventure activities, having been a camper and counselor at Lake Ann Camp for many years, but this was the longest and toughest course I’d ever attempted, is it was a much longer endurance test.  As I hung suspended between earth and sky, fear, failure, and despair wanted to wrestle control because I fell, I “failed”. Quitting wasn’t an option; there was no safe way to get me down, I had to keep going since I’d already completed two elements.  The mental gymnastics ceased as I began  to climb hand over hand across the wire toward the other side to the next element…

Much of the course proved easier after I hand climbed the tightrope, as I had a few friends helping me stay stable as I rested though various elements.  Nevertheless, challenges remained.  When the average person attempts a a high adventure challenge they have hands, arms, legs, and feet all at their disposal to tackle the elements.  When that is not the case, what is available is overtaxed in having to  do all the work.  In this instance it means everything above the waist does double, triple, or quadruple duty (not to mention energy expenditure).

But the greatest challenge was still ahead…

Posted on by Aaron in Uncategorized

About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

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