I found myself climbing down a loose and rocky peak in Alaska, clearly a place I should not have been. Moments before I had convinced my partner to go ahead up the peak without me, I would wait below because my legs were sore from previous climbing we had done. Time clicked on, I’m not sure if I was lonely or concerned he was still gone. I gazed up at the mountain front, it was a steep incline with grass tuffs and trails made by the dall sheep. My brain urged me to stay put, but I ignored it and headed up.
Following the sheep trails back and forth until I reached the top. My legs were on fire and I was breathing heavily. I looked around for my partner, but he was nowhere. I decided to go around the bend to see if he was near the cliff’s edge. Peering over the cliff, it didn’t look too steep, I thought. Meeting him at the bottom would be better, I thought.
Sitting on my bottom I started to slither my way down. Loose rocks were sliding all around me, taking on speed as they fell to the ground below. I realized quickly that I was in a serious and life threatening situation.
By the time I was about half way down I was praying aloud. With no previous religious training or education, speaking with God was a routine I had made up over the years. I said, “God, if you see me through this, I promise next time I’m going to do something stupid, I won’t do it. I just won’t do it. I promise!” I said this over and over again.
Remembering a caving trip with a friend who was skilled in this area, she told me to always have 3 points of contact on the ground. One point of contact can be your bottom. I took my time, breathed through the anxiety and eventually made it to the bottom. Sitting on my knees and wrapping my brain around what I just did I swore again I would avoid doing something stupid in the future.
This isn’t about not taking chances. I think for me it was about bodily harm and staying out of harm’s way. Before I jump into something that may – I don’t know, kill me for example; I will take a closer look at the situation before I move forward.
I have begun to view prayer like setting an affirmation for myself. Sending a message out to the universe and hope that I have the courage to follow through when it’s my turn to do so.
PS. The picture is one I took near the top of the incline. That dall sheep is looking at me wondering why I’m up there with him.