Monday, January 28, 2013

Be Brave * Step Out * Find Joy

He was not quite two years old when we took him to the beach for the first time. His face showed the curious-excitement from the first time his toes felt the sand, and then for the beach toys. But when it came time to walk into the water...there was that human emotion we often experience when encountering something new. FEAR. 

We prodded him in. Step by step, with limbs shaking and face registering trepidation. He took a few steps. Wanted to turn back, but there was also this longing. This wonder, and curiosity that compelled him to stick with it. To take the next step. And the next. And the next...

Here on the farm, we have a windmill. Something I found out to be coveted by a few land-owners who have stopped to ask if they could purchase it. Yes, they are becoming rare. To top off having this original historical-architectural-water-lifter on our property, we found a treasure growing upwards on it our first autumn here. It was embraced by a large bittersweet vine which reached to the heavens and then down again drooping beautiful orange berries and curly-q's that ended in mid-air from the fan-blades at the top. 

It's a ways up there. I don't like heights. I love bittersweet. And I had several other bittersweet-lovers looking to purchase some from me. My husband talked several times about getting a 'boom' from work. (He is in construction and the boom is the box to carry one up higher to work. A safe box to ride up in) However, it wasn't happening in the window of time for harvesting the bittersweet. So, one day I decided to try climbing up myself. Did I mention I was afraid of heights? 

The built-on ladder seemed sturdy. A peg which held a foot on each side of the upright bar that extended to the blades in the sky. If I can carry my cutter in my pocket and always keep my elbow wrapped around that upright piece I should be safe. The first year I got about half way up, and found plenty of woody tendrils with orange berries. I would hang on for dear life with my left arm wrapped around the upright metal, and then cut with my right hand. Put the cutters back in my back pocket, grab the branch I had just cut -and fling it dooooowwwwwnnn to the ground. 

When I returned to safe ground, I had that exhilarating feeling of having accomplished the impossible and having a harvest of glorious autumn-decorating beauty to boot!

Each year I became a bit more brave and it seemed the berries were higher up on the windmill. So about four years in, I reached the top (perhaps 30-40 feet?) The autumn view from up there was breath-taking. So was the view down! (perhaps a different kind of breath-taking) 

The rewards of stepping into that fear have been rich for me. Overcoming fear of heights, taking in a panoramic view of the Wisconsin autumn splendor, and being able to sell and decorate with the spoils of my warfare. This has made more brave. Much like my grandson last summer delighting in his time in the water when he overcame his fear. 

So what are your stories of overcoming? Where might you benefit from taking a step in or a step out or a step up? 

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