Ropes Course

A year before I started getting sick, my brother asked me to join him at one of his stores. At the time he had three with his two partners and he wanted out. He was to take one over leaving me to run the day to day. We would change the name and create the store I had asked for years before.
Life was good!
My focus was laser- like and the store became my world.
I loved it with a passion and was proud.
My future was certain and bright.
I got involved with our local chamber of commerce, donated to any charity that asked, handed out my business card to anyone with a pulse.
I started double and sometimes triple booking events in one night.
Out six sometimes seven days a week. For months.
The chamber of commerce group I had been accepted to was a yearlong
leadership course. Leadership Cobb is an integral part of local government and all things pertaining to our county. We had days once a month for a year and two retreats. One in the fall and one in the spring that would end our year together. We bonded fast and hard as a group. It was a diverse program and a lot of fun. We had an amazing class with all kinds of backgrounds and careers. A bonding exercise that would hold us all together even more, was the ropes course at our fall retreat, day one.
It’s set up in the North Georgia Mountains and still very hot in September, it had rained which made it muggy as well.
We hike into the woods and see what I consider to be a nightmare.
Ropes and wires in the treetops and rope ladders and aluminum ladders resting against the trunks. Oh hell no!
I am really scared of heights and this was no joke and not optional. We were harnessed up and carabiner clipped and were broken up into groups.
Challenge one, climb a rope ladder that was against a wet, slick tree and walk out onto a wire and let go every few steps to grab onto rope handles that went the length of the wire above your head. Get to the next tree and turn around and come back. Yeah right.

If anyone tries to tell you peer pressure isn’t real, send them through this course. I did the first one and was exhilarated by the adrenaline rush! I looked over at challenge two, an aluminum ladder against a tree that has a telephone pole drilled into it and into a tree beside it maybe twenty feet or so across. You had to walk the slippery, round surface to the center, then fall back and let the guy on the ground control your fall. I wasn’t thrilled but still buzzed off the adrenaline I
volunteered to go up as one of the firsts.
I complete it and was bursting with pride and grinning ear to ear.
Never in my life have I done something like this.
I then look over to inspect challenge three, Houston we have a problem.
The tree was enormous. Where the aluminum ladder stopped, I noticed small pegs that had been drilled in so you could continue climbing. On the front of the tree trunk there was a small pedestal type landing. You had to navigate the pegs then reach up to the slimy wood structure and get yourself up and around on it. Hanging in front off the tree about 10 feet out and 40 or 50 feet up was a trapeze. The idea was you jump off and try to grab the trapeze and swing.
Are you freakin kidding me? I saw two women lose their grip and go banging into the tree face first.
Oh God this was going to be hard.
The fear flooded me, making me dizzy and nauseous.
I did not volunteer to go first.
This was going to take everything in me.
I went. I jumped and missed the trapeze.
The fall down is fast and controlled and it felt so good, to be done.
I was dirty, sweaty, exhausted and proud.

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