"Three generations of Mackows, Rosenbaums, and Pasztors are shitting their pants. Vigyázz," Jared said smiling, but nervous. I felt nervous, too, as Beren practiced his "Mountain Kitten" skills. Parents often rue when another child introduces their own child to some undesirable activity. Vigyázz, by the way, translates to "Be careful", a well used word of Jared's Hungarian grandfather.
In our case, the introduction to heights was our cat, Mountain Kitten, who remains true to his name, accompanying us on our woodland walks. Mountain traversed a fallen tree suspended about six feet from the ground.
Beren followed down the length of the tree. He followed again back up. All the while, wearing his sloppy rain boots. He was practically trotting, glancing over his shoulder, occasionally pressing through enmeshed branches. Again, six feet off the ground.
Jared and I remained mostly silent, and when we chatted, Beren asked us to be quiet.
Once he got comfortable, Beren chatted, too. But really, I never detected a moment of hesitation, not in Beren anyway.
I pulled off my boots while sitting on the fallen tree. Beren watched me. Balancing one one foot, then the other, he pulled off his boots. Again, I could hardly call it balancing. He could have been standing in the midst of a flat Ohio cornfield on a still day, considering is nonchalance.
I couldn't get across walking. Downhill, I shimmied. Uphill, I crawled. Back at the top, I watched Jared walk very slowly along the log. I stood calming my mind, feeling comforting witch hazel branches at my ankles. I took a few shuffles forward. The last branch held my right ankle. How would I feel once only my twig spotters let me go. Nervous shudder. Calm mind. Shuffle forward and the last twig slipped. Just me and the tree.
In the meantime, Jared made it across. I'd been careful to not fall, if only to keep everyone else's spell in balance. I anticipated Jared's hop off the tree and its reverberation up the tree trunk. I didn't think I'd last after that.
And, I didn't. I could have calmed my mind, I guess. Maybe next time. In the meantime, I confronted a few fears including "what if my socks get wet?" They did, and guess what, we're all ok.