Standing about 45 feet in the air, she looked down from the small circular wooden platform encircling the ironwood tree. The platform had no handrail and it was easy to view the small serpentine stream quietly swooshing down the jungle-laden hillside. When she first peered over the edge she felt her thighs quiver a bit. This perch up in the tree was anything but her regular habitat. However, as soon as she peered outward and ahead ten or so degrees, she felt her body calm down.
Now it was Jane’s turn to launch. Our guide, Mike invited her to step upon the three-stepped launch platform, which placed her within inches of the plunging drop-off. The command was given and Jane stepped off the edge. Resting in her sitting-sling, gravity took its course and my 70 year-old wife was on the first leg of her first zipline experience. I had gone just before her and was able to see the broad smile on her face as she landed perfectly on the receiving platform.
While this was the first time Jane ventured on to a zipline, it was far from the first time she was high in a tree. As a young girl living in Minnesota she would often take refuge high in the canopy of her favourite maple tree. This was especially true when her older sister would chase her around the yard with a garden snake in-hand.
The second woman. She was pretty and fit looking. She had blond hair and was in her early 40’s. As soon as we met her and her husband in the office prior to our adventure, it was easy to tell she had considerable exuberance for life. She was smiling and laughing all the way along our ride in the six-wheeled Russian made ATV, which was used to transport us to the zipline course. Her place in line was right behind Jane.
As soon as this young lady stepped on the 45 foot platform in the sky, she realized where she was and turned as white as a 2000 thread fine Egyptian bed sheet. Tears immediately welled up in her eyes. She whispered shallowly, “I am really afraid of heights”. When she actually mustered the courage to step off the launch-platform her screams must have been heard for two miles. After the second zipline, her screams became not only tamer but also became mixed with joy. She had more and more fun as the three-hour experience continued.
The third woman. In talking to one of our zipline guides, Alicia, I asked her what the age of her oldest client had been. Here in Hawaii they once had a 92 year-old lady. But her oldest was while working in Indiana. That lady was 96 years old. She had so much fun that her plan was to come back again at 100.
Other than the obvious age difference, what differences do you see in these three women? What similarities? How is it that the two older women had an easier time with something scary than the young woman? How are you with confronting your fears?
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