Survive the Fall
At least, not without doing something about it.
Like a lot of bloggers, I was a bit possessed.
Then, an amazing thing happened.
The People of the United States elected a very smart black man to be their leader. And they gave him a Congress that can fund and support his plans and promises. And even though the World is headed for water that is a great deal more than troubled, I am somehow tranquil.
Not that I don't worry about the uncertain future that we all face. Not that I'm not concerned about how we are going to make the changes that we must make if we are to right our ship of state and set it on a course towards environmental and economic sanity. Not that I believe that this new President won't be moved by the military industrial complex that has run this country since Ike warned us about it.
But I do believe that this New President will do his very best to actually bring about the change that he promised.
And with that hope, with that as my basic foundation, I find myself to be at Peace, at least for the time being.
Late last week, as I walked through the foyer at the Hotel where I work out every weekday night, my eye caught someone sitting on the bench to my left. I looked down.
"Tommy?", I said.
Yes, it was Tommy, a friend I had known since we were in Den 2 together at the age of eight. Since the time he moved off to the big city when we were 14, I have seen him perhaps 2 or 3 times at the various decadenal birthday celebrations of our common childhood friends.
We embraced, and I asked him if he would be staying in the hotel tomorrow. Since he was, we made plans to chat in the lounge the next day.
After our brief encounter, I made my way down to the gym, for a good long workout. Later, as I sat in the steam shower, I remembered something that Tommy probably never forgot.
When we were 13 , just before Tommy moved away, we were Explorers together in Troop 14. One of the reasons that we stayed in Scouting so long was due to this really cool trip that we took to Colorado each year to a place called Stonewall, not too far from Trinidad.
At Stonewall, there was, as you might guess, a great natural stone wall that arose out of the ground as if God had somehow hired some giant stone masons, perhaps while he was resting. This perfect slab of limestone or whatever, had somehow turned sidewise during the eons of geologic heaving; and, as the softer soils eroded from its sides with time, and wind, and water, a great natural stone wall remained.
Well, Tommy and about six others of us decided we needed to come down the face of this great 300 foot wall. We made it up to the top coming up the easy side, but we would come down the hard side, the impossible side.
There were four major ledges that we could use in our planned descent down the face. They were narrow, but then, so were we.
As we started our first descent down to the first ledge, we waited as Tommy came last down the rope.
We heard a pop. And there was Tommy falling towards us with his broken rope. Somehow, David Taylor and I managed to catch him with his clothes as he flew past us. Luckily for Tommy, he was the smallest of us all, or we might not have been able to catch him.
Needless to say, our little adventure was now in chaos. Tommy was in shock and not about to go anywhere. So, we stuck him back in a little crevase, and we promised to return once we had managed to get everyone else to safety.
On the last ledge, I stared down as the last person made it safely down. As I breathed a sigh of relief, the rock ledge below my feet gave way, and I became a roadrunner cartoon character.
Tommy told me last week when we met for drinks, that he saw me fall and he figured I was dead. Instead, as he recounted the story, I hit the ground and then simply popped back up, telling my startled group that I was just fine.
We never really talked about this with too many people. It was too stupid, too dangerous, and too unreal to share with our parents or our friends who didn't see it happen.
And now, more than 44 years later, we sat down and talked about in length.
We had to send a rescue team to get Tommy down that day.
But David and I knew that we had saved his life.
So did Tommy.
And whether or not we catch our own complex civilization
as it careens down this cliff of greed and ignorance,
might well depend on luck, as much as strength or skill.
But it will also require courage,
And I am at Peace with that.
Because you see,
with the right understanding,
we'll survive the fall.
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Labels: personal philosophy