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Zip Lining

Wisdom does not always come with age
Brenda Winter
Brenda Winter, columnist

“How about zip lining?!” I said with the confidence of a person who did not know what she was talking about.

My three besties and I all turned 60 this year. To celebrate, we took our second “significant decade birthday trip.” This time we went to Montana – land of big skies, grizzly bears and zip lines.

I didn’t actually want to go zip lining. I just wanted to be the kind of person that other people thought might go zip lining.

I also didn’t think my friends would agree to the proposal. I thought I would get credit for sounding brave without actually having to be brave.

They agreed.

We bought the tickets.

And there we were, four 60-year-old ladies, standing on a platform, dressed up in safety gear preparing to fly across a canyon strapped to a cable.

Staring at the tree tops, I reflected on the fact that I’ve never been the adventurous sort. I don’t like riding the Ferris wheel at the county fair. When my bike hits 20 miles per hour, I tap the brakes.

I like the feel of solid ground under my feet.

I reflected on the consequences of having half-baked ideas like “How about zip lining?!” and the wisdom of my mom’s words, “You don’t have to say everything you think.”

I consoled myself by thinking, “Most people survive this or they wouldn’t keep selling tickets for it.”

In the distance, I watched a helicopter take off and wondered if it was part of a mountainside construction project or if it was a medical evacuation chopper used for hauling out the broken bodies of elderly zip-liners.

I pondered Scripture, “Fear not. For I am with you,” and wondered if God is truly present with people doing stupid things.

Praying “Dear God, please grant me safety as I jump off this tower strapped to a cable so I can fly across this canyon” just seemed – frivolous.

Where was the wisdom that comes with age?

It wasn’t coming from my friends standing behind me on the platform encouraging me to jump.

So I did.

Traveling across the canyon, I realized there was no going back. No more thinking, pondering or reflecting to be done. No more “should I or shouldn’t I?”

There was just “I did.”

Trees and rocks and ground whizzed by. The wind blew in my face and, surprisingly, the cable and harness held firm.

Admiring the scenery and enjoying the thrill of flying across the canyon strapped to a cable, I thought, “Gosh, I have good ideas.”