(continued from Part 3)
There’s a lot going on in this photo, so examine it closely to take in all the details (click it to enlarge it). See that small figure on the right side? You can just make out the soles of his shoes and the backpack.
That’s my 7-year-old son. While I concentrated on taking a picture of the colorful, towering trees, he quietly made his way up the treacherous rocks and roots leading up the ravine. As he did so, a group above him secured and tossed down their black rope so they could descend.
When I realized what he was doing, I quickly tucked my camera away and moved to get directly below him. Turning around would have put him in much more danger than continuing, so I encouraged him to be careful. By the time I got to the base he had finished, and a woman standing near him looked down at me.
She didn’t look particularly judgmental, but I felt compelled to say something. “I had no idea he would try this without me,” I said. She smiled and then looked back at her crew as they prepared to use their rope.
My heart sped up as I reached a particularly nasty part of the climb, a bare tree root that jutted away from the hillside to form a sort of overhang. Over the years it had grasped a rock. It felt more stable than it looked, so I held fast to it as I worked my feet up the variously jutting stones and hoisted my body to the top.
I sat and then turned to look down.
Yikes! I resolved never to assume my son would be afraid of anything. In climbing, up is almost always easier than down, but I had no idea how he had made it with those short legs and arms. I often remind my wife, “Just let him try,” when he does things she considers dangerous, but this time I had blown it. He could have fallen and got very seriously hurt without anyone there to spot him.
Especially if something unexpected happened, like it did the next day. But before that, there’s that night’s near fiasco.
(to be continued)