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Fear of Ladders

One time, when I was about eight or nine, Poppa climbed up onto the roof. He was fixing something (I don't remember what) but he called me up. He wanted me to see the sunset uninterrupted by the houses and trees of the neighborhood. It was my first time up high and as I ascended my hands gripped tight to the cold aluminum of the ladder bare toes curled like talons around the rungs. Safety was gone as the ground was left behind; I looked down and saw the soft green grass and earth waiting beneath and shook. My eyes moistened and I blinked trying to quell my fear but still, I shook. My knees rattling together like tambourines I held on tight but lost control, my head spinning. In my moment of panic I leapt. Fear had driven me, propelled me from my perch because, in my dizziness I thought the ladder was falling. There I lay my knees caked in dirt and grass stains from where I landed, my legs hurting from the impact of landing (not a bit gracefully). I sat up and stared at the ladder, rising high above and knew I would not try again. To this day I have not conquered my fear: But another ladder calls -a stepping stool- to that larger world I cannot see for my view from earth is obstructed by houses and trees. I pinch my eyes closed and feel blindly for that bottom step of cold metal upon flinching skin and climb. I grip tightly to the handholds allowing aluminum to cut into my fleshy palms for the scars will serve to remind of fear conquered. Step by step I rise higher towards the blue heavens knees knocking the whole way. I keep my lids tightly shut for then there is no illusion of tipping ladders. Don't jump! Don't jump! No blind leaps of faith! Rather, a blind step towards an unobstructed sunset. As I climb skyward, blindly I feel my face begin to heat from the rays of sun that peer over the crest of the roof. Is it safe? May I open my eyes? With tender uncertainty my lids lift and my eyes are blessed with the sight of a bird's eye view of unblocked light; the sun bathed in rainbow hues of tangerines and night influenced magentas. My eyes behold the setting sun Apollo, receding below the horizon as the night begins to cloak the world in naught but dark and starry skies. I have seen -at last- the beautiful sun's descent. I have conquered my ladder.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2006




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