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I've always known that I'm afraid of heights, but I didn't know until recently how afraid of heights I really am.

It hit me while (seriously) hiking the Appalachian Trail. From the trail head we some hiked five miles to a spot called Charlies Bunion (no apostrophe from what I've seen). We get there and granted, the view is splendid, but the drop off from the trail is precipitous. I could hardly look. We ate our lunch there, but the truth is that I could hardly wait to get on the trail back home.

Now I find myself in San Antonio. We are staying at a hotel downtown that is 13 stories tall. The pool is on the roof. Now, I will go up there to swim, but believe me I'll stay away from the railing. I feel light headed just approaching it. I know, the view of the city is great, but I can see it just fine from six feet away from the railing.

The hotel rooms have ceiling-to-floor glass windows, as do the elevators. And that doesn't bother me. I can walk up to the windows and look out. Nor does it bother me to ride in an airplane, where I prefer the window seat. Something about that glass gives me a sense of security that a railing does not.

When I was a youngster, one bit of mischief that I got into was to climb the fire tower on top of Lescher Hill with my friend Mike G. It was forbidden of course, but that didn't stop us. It was maybe 150 feet tall. At the top there was a little enclosure where I suppose once somebody would sit to scan the land for fires. To get there you went straight up a ladder and in through an opening in the floor. It has since been torn down, so I guess kids no longer have that opportunity to get into trouble. Still, I cannot believe I did that. I must have been terrified.


I've Climbed That Tower...

But the little door was chained shut.

A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths.
---Steven Wright
We were at a math convention in San Antonio a few years back, teachers on a tight budget and a group of us sharing a room. My assigned bed was a roll-away pushed up next to that floor-to-ceiling window. Even though there was glass, I got a little queasy just lying there picturing how close I was to the edge!

On my recent canopy tour, my acrophobia surfaced when standing on the platforms, but not when zipping along the cables in a harness up to 150 feet off the ground...that part was FUN!

May 2018



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