06 July 2015


Everything hurts. I feel like I've been beaten from head to toe. 

I have rope burn on my hands. I scraped up my arm and elbow falling on some rocks (but the expensive camera I was holding is okay!). My arms won't go above my head. My chest muscles hurt. I have a bruise on the back of my thigh from hitting the water too hard. The insides of my knees feel bruised for some reason. The bottoms of my feet are sore from hitting the water too hard, and also from something sharp that got into my sandal. My little toe might be broken. I have mosquito bites on my legs. There is an area of raw skin on the top of my foot from an unknown source. My skin is either sunburned, despite frequent applications of sunscreen, or it just shriveled up like a raisin from the water and heat. I haven't slept well since Wednesday night. 

It was a brilliant weekend, basically.

Mostly it was brilliant because it involved jumping off high rocks into pools of clear, topaz water. 

It took me a little while to work up my courage on the first day, but then I spent a couple of hours happily jumping off a ledge into a pretty little pool. I had to be (virtually) dragged away from the water, kicking and screaming. (My momma will recall this from when my brother and I were little. My sister, too, come to think of it, although she was much younger. We were not the sort to walk away from water - ever - unless coerced.)

On the second day, the cliffs were just too high. I couldn't do it. I do not like heights. Well, the heights don't bother me. What bothers me is the falling.

"Come over to this side. It's a little lower," D. said, and I did. I scrambled through the foliage to the rocky outcropping and stepped off without even looking. 

Back on the first side, though, I still couldn't do it, even at the lower of the points. 

After a lot of hemming and hawing and allowing other people to go first, a middle-aged woman arrived at the vanguard of a troop of parents and kids. 

"Should I jump?" I asked, as she was looking over the edge in horror. 

"No!" she said. "Don't do it!"

So I leapt. The prospect of horrifying a mom-type person was enough to get me off the ledge. 

It still took me a while to jump from the higher point, even though it was only 5 or so feet higher, and even more time, somehow, to do it a second time.

"I have to do it at least three times," I said. "The third time really proves that I can."

I did it five times, in total, shivering from the 42 degree water in-between, especially as the sun shifted and the area at the top of the cliff fell into shadow. The rest of the group lost interest and sat around drying off and eating. I kept jumping. Each time, though, I made sure that someone was paying attention. For some reason, the idea of dropping off the cliff and no one knowing where I had gone bothered me. (I was left at a waterfall in Honduras once. This concern may date back to that incident.)

Further down the creek, the same: there was a natural waterslide in the rocks. Most adults did it once or twice and left it to the kids, but not me. I kept sliding over and over until the group was ready to go. 

Years pass, but water does not lose its thrall. What I needed was my brother or sister with me. They wouldn't have lost interest, either. 

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