The view always gets scary before it gets better
I once heard someone say that no one truly fears heights. Rather, one fears falling.
Im not interested in arguing semantics, no matter how much I appreciate diction and the English language, but all Im thinking about when Im 500 feet off the ground is: Oh no oh no oh no oh no and What font should I use for my will?
Yet despite my belief that humans are not biologically meant to be suspended half a mile in the air, it hasnt stopped me from visiting countless towering landmarks during family vacations.
Ive ridden an elevator to the top of the Seattle Space Needle (and spent every photo spitting my hair out of my face, courtesy of the wind); Ive tentatively peeked over the side of the Empire State Building in New York City (valiantly clutching my moms hand the entire time); Ive stumbled across the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver, B.C., (my knuckles still have not returned to their normal shade); and Ive climbed the steps of the Great Wall of China in Beijing (which I only spent about 30 minutes on, and waited in the gift shop area for the rest of the three hours.)
As you can see, I clearly made the most out of every occasion.
Fine, I didnt. Which is frustrating to look back on. My fear of heights has kept me from experiencing things to the fullest in so many situations. And every time it happens, I berate myself for not being strong enough to overcome it.
When I went to Arches National Park in Utah this past summer, however, that changed. Because on June 19, I hiked up to an elevation of 480 feet, scaled a narrow rock ledge for 200 yards, stood at the base of Delicate Arch, looked down into the vast canyon and felt no fear at all.
There were no sweaty palms, no racing pulses just a silent awe, a deep respect for the infinite strength and beauty of nature that nothing could ever emulate.
I dont know why I wasnt paralyzed by fear that day. Whether it was exhaustion, a miracle or simply a chemical reaction in my brain, I may never find out.
Whatever it was, it made me fearless, if only for a moment. And I know Ill do anything to feel that way again, even if it means 17 more years of lofty space needles and suspension bridges. Because some things are too important to miss.
I still havent figured out whether Im afraid of heights or of falling. But who cares? Ill take them both. I dont have time to sit here and argue semantics Ive got mountains to see.