Monday, June 4, 2012

Looking Down

Don't Look Down!

That's what they say when you're on the edge clinging uncountable feet above them, they on the ground and you in the air holding with all your might.

They scream up at you, For Godsake, man, don't look down!

They say that out of fear, even though they cannot feel the wind claw at your grip. They don't feel your toes cramping and your calves wrenching and your stomach launching bile into your throat.

Don't look down! That's what they say, followed by, Hold on, help's coming!

Only there is no help coming. This is your climb, and you are far too far to be reached. Others may be near you, and they may offer encouragement, but they cannot climb for you. Nobody can rope you in and haul you up. Maybe you think God will climb for you, but that is not His style. His style is that there is something worth climbing for, something at the top, something magnificent at the peak.

It is your job to get there. This is faith.

So up you go. It is your climb, and you are on the cliff side, and they are all telling you don't look down. There is no help to be had either up or down or sideways, or even if you could tunnel directly through.

Me, I look down. I spit and hope the shouters scatter. They are pinheads so far beneath me, and my spit dissolves long before it reaches them. So I drop a rock. I risk a loosed clutch and a twist of the neck and I drop a rock and that scatters them alright. It must have zinged into the ground a thousand miles per hour from up so high.

I am stratospheric, maybe even orbital.

No shouting now. Just me and the wind and nobody saying, Don't look down.

I'll look where I damned well please. I won't tell you to hold on, or where to look, or lie to you that help is coming. All I will say is this: Climb. Go up up up. Down is easy. Even a dumb rock and my spit can go down.

You're not a phlegmatic rock, are you?

- Eric

Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novel Out of the Great Black Nothing. He is currently represented by Debrin Case at Open Heart Publishing. See more of Eric's work here: Publications


Roland D. Yeomans said...

You are at a very isolated, dark high place. To fall you just have to let go. But to be true to all those who have loved you, you must climb on.

It is true in your flash fiction. It is true in your life right now.

I am pulling for you and your flash fiction hero to climb on, Roland

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Eric, look wherever you want - just don't stop climbing. Faith is real.

Wine and Words said...

Sweet man. I will never forget a summer spent a million light years ago...sitting by a lake, my friend not waffling between his need to say and his concern to say. "No one is coming Annie." In yourself. You are so right Eric, about the climb and God's desire that we friggin' buy a damn carabiner and start the effort. But there is a catch if we fall. There certainly is...for I have fallen so many times I've lost any desire to keep track. I just keep climbing. I am thinking of your family so often these days Eric. All my empathy tries to teleport, though falls short. So short.

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

Eric, I understand better than most that there is no giant hand to reach down and pull me up. The scariest thing to face is that I can only count on me. Yes, people around me/us and family love me/us, but that isn't enough. I know, because I dangle from my fingertips everyday. Some days I have a better grip than others.

But you are right - closing your eyes and letting go would be easy, but I don't think you're that guy. I'm trying not to be that woman.

So they are right, don't look down, look over, I'm hanging right beside you.


Anne Gallagher said...

If you need me to, I'll climb next to you. Just take my hand. We can spit off the rocks together.

Phoenix said...

Such a great post, and such a great sentiment. How right you are. It's in the climbing that we reveal who we are, not where we look. Just keep climbing and taking that thought higher.

There's a reason that underneath my blog title is the phrase, "Clinging I shall die of boredom". :)

Jai Joshi said...

Sometimes looking down helps us appreciate how far we've climbed. It's a state of grace.

Big hug.