Monday, July 26, 2010

Memoir Monday: Jumping Off The Wall...Then Climbing Back Up It.

(Hey y'all. This little thing is called Memoir Monday, and I'd be thrilled if you gave it a shot. Just jot down a story about yourself, grab my code down there, and I'll link you up to be read by all my wonderful blog buddies. The only rule? It has to be true. I am personally doing what I can to help cure your case of the Mondays. Thanks for playing along!)

The beauty of the setting is quite hard to miss. The crystal clear water flows quickly over the tops of the now useless dam, gather speed and air, turning into a white foam that crashes into the water about 10 feet from where it started. It continues its journey downstream unabated, with the exception being the 50 or so people that are gathered here to cool themselves from the hot summer sun. 

My brothers are up on top of the dam first. Instead of testing the depth of the water by standing in the pool, they simply go with their gut, which I fear will get them killed one day. They immediately do backflips into the water, earning them the respect and admiration of those too afraid to attempt such an endeavor. They emerge from the water, neither of them skewered by a rogue pipe, no bones broken, and nothing but smiles on their faces. 

As usual, I stand and watch. 

The day wore on, and I finally found myself on top of the dam with them, looking over the edge, knowing that gravity treats me differently than it does them, knowing I'll go deeper into the water, knowing there are massive boulders just below the surface of the water, and knowing that death waits for me at the base of the jump. They do their backflips, they land in the water, and they surface yet again, only this time they are yelling at me to jump. 

"Do it!" 
"Travis, just do it. It's fine."
"DO IT!"

As I look around, I see my audience has grown. Instead of my two brothers and their friends egging me on, I now have about 20 people interested in the fat guy trying to get the moxie to jump. The person beside me on the dam says, "Hey man, just don't think about it." I replied with, "I've been thinking about it for the last hour, that's the problem." Most of the people aren't concerned with my safety, they just want to be assured that I won't splash all of the water out of the creek. 

My toes are at the edge now, the water rushing over them, and I decide once again that I'm not going to do this. I backed away, much to the disappointment of my brothers, their friends, and the crowd. Then, something inside of me clicked. I took a step, I pushed off, and I was free. 

There are few feelings in the world like hanging in the air. I was there for less than a second, but in that time I shed my 100+ extra pounds, I got rid of my fear of heights, I set aside the concern for those boulders or that lone, sharpened pipe, and I just was.

My toes went in, nothing happened. Shortly after, I was on the bottom of the creek, knees bent at a soft angle, suspended in the water. "Let 'em worry," I thought. Finally I pushed to the surface. There were no cheers, there were only cursory glances to make sure the water was all still intact, as well as my limbs. 

Then came the wall. The wall was part of the dam that was still working. It had cracks and crevices that provided hand holds for people much thinner than me to climb to the top so they could jump off again. It looked impossible. However, after watching a particularly chunky 10 year old work their way to the top, I decided to give it a try. 

I'm sure there were people watching to see if I would fail, after all, it's not every day you see a 300 pound man try to scale a rock wall. It took a minute, but I finally got a foot into a hold, then a hand, and I levered myself up into a standing position. From there it was a matter of finding cracks big enough for my hands and feet. At last I was near the top, the only thing left was the hardest part. I had to use my upper body strength to throw my entire body over the edge. I steeled myself for a fall and went for it. 

I made it. 

Then I jumped off again. 

Then I climbed back up the wall, cut my foot, and jumped off again. 

I must have climbed and jumped at least 10 times. 

I beat the wall. Twice. 

What can you beat this week? 

Other Jumps Off The Memory Banks This Week. (GO READ THEM!)