Monday, August 19, 2013

Near Death Experiences

That title may be a slight exaggeration.

As anyone who knows me well knows, I am a very cautious person.  I stay safe, and I tend to follow the rules.  I rarely do stupid things (but say stupid things on a regular basis) and therefore have few embarrasing stories to tell.

And every once in a while, I try to change that.  No, not the rarely doing stupid things part, I'd like to keep that the way it is.  The cautious part.  I want to be able to fearlessly do all the crazy things my crazy friends do.  I feel like a stick in the mud on a regular basis.  I'm boring, and I know that.

But every time I try to do something remotely adventurous, I get myself into physical danger.  In not a good way.

For the first event, let's rewind 6 or so years.  It was during the spring rains, and because we like walking in the rain, Ellie, Justice and I decided to go walk in our neighbors property.  There were several creeks in this property that we enjoyed seeing as they overflowed.  The way we wanted to go involved crossing one of these swollen creeks, and since there was no other way across, we opted for the log stretched from one side to the other.

Folks, I hate to admit it, but I am terrible at crossing logs.  I'm afraid of it, even.  And I knew it.  I knew I was no good.  So Ellie crosses first.  I'm not going to be the pansy and hang back, so I start crossing.  Half-way across, I fall... and get stuck on the log with one leg over, one leg under, with a swollen creek the size of a small, and very angry river, pushing against me.   Of course, one of the first things I think of is the story Pop had told earlier of someone drowning in one of these swollen creeks because she had tried to drive her car across.

My dear Ellie, always my protector, started wading out into this stream to help me out, after me trying for a frantic minute to pull myself up.  Fortunately I was able to pull myself out before she got to the middle (dangerous) part of the stream.   We headed back home, and were thankfull that the rain hid the fact that I was drenched, a little more than my siblings.  We never told my parents, and this will be the first they've heard of it. :D

I don't know if this next anacdote really counts, but it is another time when I felt quite a lot of fear.  On one of our float trips there is a rock that you can jump off of into the middle of the river.  It is plenty deep, so dives are "safe" too.  Personally I prefer diving.  I don't dive too much though, cause I always have to build up my courage for it (seriously, you are throwing yourself head-first off of something into water...).  Anyway, I was on a float with Camp David, and I do a dive off of this rock.  As I dive, I feel my legs go too far back, hear an awful pop in my back, and experience pain as I hit the water and go under.

My very active and vivid imagination immediately starts working overtime as I claw my way back to the surface.  Fortunately I neither drown (as I was worrying), nor cry (as I was tempted).  I was, however, in a great deal of pain for the rest of the trip, and subsequent days until I made it to a chiropractor.  You know, when you have a hurt back, it is painful to have one's canoe flipped... repeatedly....

This last one was the most recent occurrence, happening just a few weeks ago at Johnson Shut-ins.  I was with a lot of friends, and they were all jumping off of a rock about... hm... 6-8 feet high, maybe?  They had to jump out a bit from it, as there was another rock at it's base.  After several of them had jumped, I went up to the edge, looked over, and then backed away. And my friends, as all good friends will, encouraged me to not worry, just jump.  Some suggested I just walk up to the edge and go, without thinking, and others pointed out that you could jump off, without jumping out and still not hit the rocks at it's base.

If all my friends jumped off a cliff, would I jump too?  No, actually.  But if all my friends told me to go ahead and try it, then I might. :P  Anyway, I decided to jump.  I took a few swift steps, planning for my last step to be on the edge, working to launch me over.  Only problem is, one step from the edge I slip.  Entirely.  No going back.  I kick out with my other foot hoping to catching the edge with that and push me farther out.  But that foot slips too.  In the process I get flipped over and I hit the water with my shoulder, my legs missing the rocks by less than a foot (if I correctly remember what the onlookers said).

Well, that was rather terrifying.  For everyone.  Apparently there was a collective gasp, and Ellie, who was lower down and had not seen, turned around to see me in the water and shocked looks on everyone's faces.  And when she asked, "Did my sister just almost die?" they answered, "Yes".  Way to put her mind at rest....  I came up laughing a rather hysterical laugh, climbed back up, and sat huddled for a while.  No one else jumped until quite a bit later, in fact, until someone who hadn't seen what happened came up and jumped a few times.

I didn't realize until writing this post that all of these stories involve rivers (or rushing streams that almost qualify as rivers).  One might think that I would fear water.  I don't.  In fact, I love water, and swimming, and canoeing, etc.

Jumping on the other hand....


  1. Good Grief, Chava!
    You're making my heart skip beats! Stop doing those things. If you hesitate that's when you fall, so just stop.
    Love, your very caring and worried sister.

    1. :D Don't worry, dear caring sister, I shall exercise caution when necessary. Anyhow, I've scared myself pretty well, it should last me a while.

  2. Oh, Chava! You're braver than I am, for sure! I have a few stories like those, too, only they do NOT include DIVING off rocks! No, mine are tame--falling off a log stretched across a creek (had to tell my parents about that one, because I lost one of my shoes! And boy, did I ever get in trouble for that!), slipping while trying to jump across a little rivulet and cutting my leg (still have the scar 50 years later).

    I enjoy your writing.

    1. Good to hear from you, Kay. That must have been quite a cut, ouch! Your stories sound similar to mine. Too bad you lost your shoe.

      Thanks. :)

  3. Please don't marry my one of my sons... I like you... and you would die of nervous exhaustion.

    1. Oh, wow, this made me laugh. I don't think I'm in any danger of marrying one of your sons, but you are probably right, I would die pretty quickly. :D

  4. Be true to yourself. If you're cautious by nature, act that way. If you're a risk taker by nature, act accordingly. This does not mean that you'll never take risks - it just means that you the risks you are willing to take have been checked in advance to determine their value. Okay, back off my soap box... :D

    1. Yes, and I am definitely cautious by nature. :D