Once in a while, on a weekend, my dad would take us to the ledges (Whipps Ledges – always seemed very aptly named) to climb rocks. Mom would generally stay at the lake or picnic area – either pregnant or with a baby or both. We would spend a couple of hours, just with Dad, learning where and how to place our feet and pull ourselves up.
The rocks started small. Slowly the cavern opened up into a glacial remainder following a steady shallow stream, giant boulders having been left behind by the ice and waters recession. I trailed our procession at first making sure everyone stayed accounted for and safe but eventually falling into my own adventure story, wondering when I would be old and brave enough to rappel down the seemingly sheer cliff faces.
I was a cautious climber and often directed caution at my brothers who had no sense of danger at all. I was not given to running leaps over gaps. Dad never disparaged me for finding my own path but sometimes there was no other way across.
You had to jump.
We trusted Dad but of course he could clear the gap. He was a grown up and at that time infallible and capable of everything. You had to summon up some faith in your own self and just do it or risk being left behind and having to turn back. I can’t remember the exact words he used to encourage and urge us on but I know that once upon a time I made those jumps.
And it was always worth it to go forward.