Old Baldy

18 Jun

Bald Head Island Port

The Port at Bald Head Island

If you have followed my blog, then you know I have a “thing” for lighthouses. When my orthopedic surgeon told me I still have some time left on my old, worn-out, arthritic knees, I decided that I would make my steps count. Climbing lighthouse steps, whenever possible, is one of my ways of making by steps count.

Approaching Old Baldy

Approaching Old Baldy. Yes, the top is off-centered.

Up the shaft

Looking up Old Baldy, from the inside

A couple weeks ago, I almost “conquered” another set of lighthouse steps. Old Baldy, on Bald Head Island, NC, has 108 steps. I climbed 105. The last three I didn’t climb because I was either, #1, chicken, or #2, realized I wouldn’t have anything to hold on to when it came time to turn around and descend the steps therefore making it unwise to “try it and see what happens.” I’m not saying which. I will say, though, that every time I thought about those last three steps and imagined trying to climb and descend them, I got a queasy feeling in my stomach along with a heart flutter. Even now, thinking about it makes me feel woozy. In my imaginings, the ones that made me feel queasy and fluttery, there was nothing to grab to help me climb those last three steps. Professorgrrl was at the top and could have helped me get to the very top, I guess, but I’m not sure she could help me descend, unless she went first and broke my fall. And that would be very unpleasant for both of us. When I got home, and looked at my photographs from the trip, I discovered something very odd. There was a handrail at the top! I have no memory whatsoever of that handrail. My camera sure did remember it.

Three steps short

Looking up into Old Baldy

Have you ever been so fearful, that you’ve been blinded by your fear? My fear of heights that day completely blinded me, I guess. I later stared at that photograph and thought, “Where did that handrail come from?” At the time, all I could imagine was falling when it came time to turn around and descend, due to a misstep. Perhaps I could have climbed the last three steps. I don’t know.

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Looking down from the 105th step

I know that I have long lived with a fear that I would end up in a wheelchair long before everyone else does. Maybe being a child in braces does that to a person. Maybe getting old with a bone disease like XLH does that to a person. Maybe just getting old does that to a person. I am learning to not let fear blind me to the moment that I live in. And in this moment, I can walk. A little crooked sometimes, and sometimes with a hiking stick, and sometimes holding on to Professorgrrl’s arm, but I can walk. I often say that if I wake up and my feet hit the floor before my butt does, then it’s going to be a good day. So, I walk. I climb (lighthouse stairs only). Sometimes, when no one is looking, I dance—a crooked dance, but a dance, nevertheless.

So, what are you going to do with this moment?

Peeking into the top of Old Baldy

Peeking into the top of Old Baldy

Copyright 2014, Banjogrrldiaries and S.G. Hunter

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3 Responses to “Old Baldy”

  1. drdeacondog June 18, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

    Thought-provoking. Thanks.

  2. Nita Callahan June 19, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

    DANCE! and keep on climbing! Just look for the “assistive devices” (rails) or whatever it takes to get you to the top.

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