In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to consider some things I have to be thankful for…
I came home for the holidays for the first time in over a year. My parents looked after me, helped knock out the cold that had been developing over the past few weeks and I generally chilled out. I ran off to San Francisco with my best friend for two days and showed her around my favourite city. She’s still there, exploring Golden Gate park, sampling the cuisine of Chinatown and generally doing mad things like cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge. I’m glad I got to share the city with one of my favourite people.
I had a chance to spend time with family, my godson and some old friends I hadn’t seen in ten years. In all, I’m just as tired as I was when I got here through all of the running around, but I’m happier for it. This week reminded me that I have a lot of people to be thankful for and it also taught me to be more careful.
On Wednesday, we wandered over to Joshua Tree National Park where people go climbing and bouldering. The place is beautiful, the landscape is rugged and a bit savage and not at all forgiving of idiots that think scrambling without enough experience or rope is a good idea. We had been scrambling across the boulders, helping each other climb higher and higher to reach the top of a huge collection of boulders. I wouldn’t like to guess the height, but it would have been enough to kill someone in the event of a fall. A friend of mine, Jeff Hadley, died bouldering in Joshua Tree in July of 1993. (I wrote about him in the post: Absent Friends). That should have warned me to be careful, but I’ve always had a tendency to push my luck and get away with it. I was sizing up the distance between the rock I was standing on and the next boulder on my way to the top when I took a careless step. My foot slipped and my grip on an overhanging rock was too much for my spaghetti arms to handle. I fell backwards, throwing my arms out to try to grip rock and stop my fall. It was enough of an effort to absorb some of the impact when I hit the deck, but the recoil meant that the back of my head hit some jagged rock. I scrambled to my feet and as I put my hand to my head to check the damage, I realised I was about a foot in either direction from about a 50 foot drop. I shook it off and assured my companions, who had rushed to my side, that I was ok. No blood, just a bloody great bump that I can still feel when I run my hand across the back of my head.
So, what did I learn? I’m not made of rubber and just because yet again I got away with careless behaviour, it doesn’t mean I always will. When I got home, I omitted the incident from my conversation with my parents at dinner. They don’t need to hear what an idiot I am.
I guess the reason what this is relevant is because I have a lot of people I care about and I should take better care. So, grateful for friends and family, grateful to be alive despite my repeated efforts to kill myself through carelessness.
So, what did you give thanks for on Thursday?
Writing Prompt: Giving Thanks