Misc for July 21, 2014

Let’s think of this week’s letter as the B-side to last week’s somber reflection on loss. In fact, as Erin McKeown sang on “Slung-Lo,” “I’m turning this B-side around to a de-light.”

Newton’s First Law of Motion

Three weeks ago I asked my mom what she wanted to do to celebrate her birthday this year and without a moment’s hesitation she replied, “you could take me zip lining.”

Mind, this is no adrenaline junky grandma we’re talking about. Though prone to a lead foot behind the wheel, my mother is typically more likely to remind you not to fall than to encourage you over a ledge. Yet here she was, ready to start her 85th year on Earth, and her first in more than half a century without my dad, by taking an actual leap into something new, something dangerous, to prove to herself that she could.

Sometimes the parables write themselves.

Now I’m standing on a metal platform 70 feet above a Wisconsin Dells resort, tethered twice to a zip line stretching hundreds of feet ahead toward a similar platform obscured by yearning leaves and the tops of trees beneath me. Waiting to step into warm July air, I watch mom recede into the distance, the cable thrumming a science-fictional frequency.

For a moment, I’m unsure whether my well advertised height anxiety will keep me from following this remarkable woman ahead into something new. If she can do this…

Our guide gives the go-ahead, flips open the gate, and I push off into nothingness. I can feel the cable flex with my weight and I am zipping! My thoughts leap from fear into joy.

Much of the next 45 minutes or so is a blur. Waving to my wife and kids. Knocking my foot on the top branch of a tree. Once again, a child learning lessons from a mother, learning that doing is almost always better than not-doing.

Ok. More words and links next week. But since it is stuck in my head now, and the chorus seems appropriate this week, here are more lyrics from “Slung-Lo.” (If you’re not familiar with Erin McKeown, do check out her work!

“She was so down, look at her now

She’s never been so high!

Everyone knows, give it some time

The clouds’ll clear the sky!”

Have a great week!