Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Mom fearful on bridges, my adolescent eyes rolling.
But in twenties, driving across San Rafael Bridge,
Freaked out and--at least in memory--stepped
Out of car to let passenger finish drive to other side.
Ever since, heights prompted sweating and avoidance.

In graduate school, studying behavioral techniques
And closer route to home via scary bridge deck exit,
Intervened via progressive relaxation, which worked
For that bridge, but none other without redoing project.

During professional trip to Atlanta, highly motivated
To eat birthday brunch with good pal at glass-
Elevatored restaurant at top of fancy hotel. Exited 
By slipping off sandals to wipe sweaty feet on carpet.
Another professional meeting, incentive to see 
Christmas lights strung outside glassed elevator;
Greatly startled when inside wall suddenly appeared.

When niece was recovering from stage-4 brain tumor, 
Agreed to every Disney World ride, although eyes closed,
Breath held, and knuckles whitened on flimsy safety railings.
When she turned 18 and celebrated with yet another
Thrilling, chilling, life-threatening adventure, vowed that 
One more, and never, ever again--until the Summer of '13.

Two 2013 experiences, both physically-demanding and frightful,
Shifted perspective of personal best and personal possibilities.
Although Camino aborted after 8 days, four of which were painful,
Climbed over the Pyrenees Mountains in one very long day.
Six weeks later, walked 5 days at cliffs' edges on Wales coast,
Breath-gaspingly beautiful precipices plunging to crashing sea.
Based on the above successful adventures, considered riding
London's Thames shore Eye, stories above compelling city views;
Relaxed and calm in line as well as entirety of gondola ride.

Seems as miraculous and as unpredicted as lessening pain in
Left heel--or as miraculous and as as unpredicted as credit card 
Debacle (left Week 8 in Copenhagen airport automated boarding 
pass kiosk) ending by spending last cash and last gift card credit
On last day of nine-week journey in six European countries.

Experiences repeated and observed seem to enhance and improve
Confidence and ability for actualities and for upcoming possibilities.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 3, 2013


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