Can I get there and back before dark? Now I’m in a rhythm, going fast, breathing harder, yet still able to inhale the Sedona beauty that never gets old. Last mile now. Steep ascent. Crisp air chilling. Sun descending.
I’m here before dark and yeah, it looks just as scary as the pictures did. I’m not afraid of heights but something about this is terrifying. I watch “maniacs” take their turn on the largest sandstone bridge in the Southwest and like Sid the Sloth I tell myself “I chose life.”
“Can you take my picture?” OK, well maybe I’ll just run over to where it starts to jet out, where it’s still wide. I move deftly, decisive feet not wanting to inconvenience fellow hikers.
Solid ground greets me and it might be the most grounded my feet have ever perceived. “Why don’t you move to that Manzanita bush, it will look better there!” I move further out, to the very place that terrified me only minutes before. I can’t see the chasm below me, only the view before me, my new companions talking to me.
The human connection got me to face my fear, and no longer do I crave solitude. I return the favor and take pictures of others, pet dogs, and celebrate as others take their turn on the bridge.
Walking down alone now. It’s dusk and I’m alone but fear is gone. With my typical speed, I reach another hiker. She’s chatty and I sense has a need for connection. “You don’t have to stay at my pace.” No problem, I’m happy to walk with you. She’s walking so close that I’m glad I have my Covid antibodies.
Suddenly there’s lost balance, stumbling, pitching towards ground. My leg moves out, solid pillar of protective instinct, preventing her back and head from hitting the ground. “Oh Wow, I don’t know how you did that. Thank you!” Grateful I was here.
And so it comes full circle. Human connection pushed me to face my fear, reconnect to body, Creator and others. Now it that space I chose to stay in connection, even allowed closeness, and another human was protected. Once again I am Forward-Facing.