Monday, August 18, 2014

Edgy

My stomach spun like a top at my first glance. I inhaled deeply, all the way to my toes, and forced my eyes open again. There. There it was, in all its immutable, ageless, and very deep glory, the Grand Canyon.

My husband, equally enthralled but not a bit bothered by the height, was already moving quickly from rock to rock, taking a frenzy of pictures.

I remembered back to two days ago when we'd stopped in the Davis Mountains in West Texas for the first leg of our vacation. The sense of accomplishment I felt at having scaled two peaks was still throbbing in me; not for the physical feat of it, but for quashing my raging and robust dislike of being anywhere high. I took courage in that as we set off on the trail at the South Rim of the canyon.

The crisp, rich air made even breathing feel luxuriously decadent. Although we moved quickly on a trail without a guardrail, with only a couple of feet of dirt and sometimes trees separating us from the steepest drop off I've ever seen, I kept my mind off the height by focusing on the dazzling views as well as the melange of people we passed on the trail. English was sparsely scattered in the languages we heard. French, Japanese, German, Portuguese, and others were delectable listening treats.

We stopped at picturesque points on the trail, both for photos and appreciation.

"Be careful," I called to my husband, forcing my voice to stay nonchalant as he ventured out much too close to the edge of one of these rocky outlooks for my comfort.

"It's OK, Hon, I'm fine," he called back. "This is beyond words- just amazing!"

I took photos of him and of the undulating cliffs and of the tiny Colorado River visible from the safety of my vantage point just beyond the trail. Something small to my left bobbed in my peripheral vision as it moved past me to an area where there was an immediate drop off just past the trail. I turned to look and saw a small boy, no more than three, with a new scooter he was trying to push with one foot and steer with both hands while wobbling dangerously close to the drop off.

My breath caught in my throat as I moved quickly off the trail in his durection and worked to stay calm. No other adults seemed to be near and I didn't want to leave him to try and find who he belonged to.

"Hi there! That's a really neat scooter you have there, " I told him brightly as I crouched to get closer without startling him. He stopped for a moment in his jagged journey off the path.

"Mine. It's mine. I big boy!" He puffed himself taller.

I held out my hand to him, as there was no more than six inches now between him and the edge.

"Can you help me get up? I would love to see that scooter, " I encouraged, as I stretched my hand closer and wiggled my toes to get a better angle if I needed to lunge for him.

"I strong. I got big muscles," he said as he stretched out his chubby hand to me. I quit breathing as I clasped his small hand in mind. "Come back here on the trail and let's take a look at the scooter of yours," I said, my voice suddenly high pitched and having to suppress an urge to sob in relief.

Just then, a woman with two girls under ten following her came around the bend in the trail ahead of us.

"Jeremiah! Jeremiah! What have I told you?" She covered the yards between us quickly and grabbed his hand from mine. "Stranger danger! You NEVER go with a stranger, " she angrily enunciated as she glared at me.

Although I was still emotionally wrought by how close we'd come to tragedy, I straightened up and said, "Ma'am, he was past the trail there, trying to steer his scooter and he was just inches from the edge when I got him to give me his hand." And proving stronger than my will power, tears started to stream down my face. "He almost...he was this close..."

She looked at me carefully, her eyes squinting. She looked down at him, grabbed the scooter with one hand and in one motion pulled his arm to match her long strides away from me.

She took one last look at me and snorted. "Humph!" They moved quickly back down the trail the way she had come.

Um. You're welcome.



  

65 comments:

  1. Charming woman. I always feel sorry for kids brought up by people like that. Shows she is not able to assess a situation sensibly at all. I hope he will be all right in the future. And wonderfully quick thinking from you.

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    1. Jenny: I, too, hope good things for him in that family in the future.

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  2. Congrats on scaling two peaks at the Davis Mountains! And I have always wanted to see The Grand Canyon. Thank goodness you saved the boy from such a close call. Sad that his mother wasn't more thankful.

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    1. Optimistic: I still can't believe I forged through those heights, and I'm so thankful that little boy is ok.

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  3. No good deed goes unpunished, right Shelly?

    Your anecdote doesn't surprise me one bit. We visited every lookout point on the South Rim and encountered many families with young children. In some cases the kids were wandering around unattended. I saw a few young children standing on unprotected rocks no more than a couple of feet from certain death while their parents remained nonchalant.

    That day you found yourself in a situation that required nerves of steel, clear thinking and decisive action. You did everything right. You kept your cool and pulled that child to safety. You probably saved his life. That's all you need to take with you from that experience. I am very proud of you.

    I read that young males are the highest risk group at the Canyon because they like to prove how macho they are by leaping from rock to rock and posing at dangerous spots. Mrs. Shady belongs in that group. She walked out on one of those unprotected ledges and took a series of selfies while I stood a comfortable distance away from the edge watching her. By the time she was finished I had given birth to a litter of kittens. Want one? :)

    We also heard a variety of foreign languages spoken as we toured the Canyon. In fact, it seemed like very few visitors spoke English!

    Happy Tuesday, dear friend Shelly. It's great to have you back!

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    1. Shady: Your trip sounds marvelous- and I guess each couple needs one who is clear thinking and one who is a risk taker! So glad you all got to go and enjoy that amazing beauty~

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  4. As a mother with young children, I grow weary of my peers who see danger at every turn, except when it's staring them in the face. Unattended kids by the swimming pool, but those same kids aren't allowed to play in the yard without supervision. Don't talk to strangers, but ride your scooter near the edge of a cliff.

    I spent a few years trying to anticipate what other parents would think about me intervening when I thought their child needed direction, but the responses vary so wildly, I have since quit worrying about that, and just do what I think is right.

    In this case, there was no room to wonder. You did the right thing, and that mother should have given you a grateful hug. I wonder if she was so scared, that her manners escaped her?

    That picture is breathtaking, and your description of the dizzying heights made me hold on to the edge of my seat!

    Welcome back, Shelly!

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    1. Amy: It's usually an iffy thing to decide whether to intervene, but this one didn't even give me a pause. I know something bad would have happened, even if his mother didn't. Thank you- it's good to be back!

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  5. That photo you posted on Facebook freaked me out! I do not do well with heights. I feel like the world is tipping and I'm going to slide into the abyss. But it's worth it to see such beauty... from a distance.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

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    1. Theresa: My feet like near sea level elevations just fine- but it was glorious to see. From a distance is a good thing~

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    2. I agree. That's how I felt in California last year.

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  6. People die in the Grand Canyon all the time and you probably saved this child's life. Too bad that the mother didn't appreciate your concern and had no remorse for neglecting to properly supervise her child. They say "goodness" is it's own reward and in your case this is undoubtedly true.

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    1. Stephen: I wonder how some kids survive into adulthood with the parents they have. I do hope this kid lives a long life.

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  7. It's incredible how blind people can be. Good for you for doing what was necessary, even though it must have left you with mixed feelings.

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    1. jenny_o: I was so thankful he was safe it didn't bother me too much about the mom, although I hope she wises up.

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  8. Nothing an inattentive or incompetent parent hates more than being caught out. The hero disdained, but child is safe. Well done. And that you didn't run after her and slap her silly was further heroism.

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    1. vanilla: I am so glad it turned out the way it did, even if she acted terribly.

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  9. First of all, thank goodness you were there to help that boy. My breath stopped when I read about him close to the edge of the cliff. It does make me sad that his mom reacted that way. I bet it was difficult for you to soak all of that in. Your picture is absolutely stunning and makes me feel like I'm there. Your writing is so lovely and I hope you keep sharing it with us.

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    1. Saumya: It was simply gorgeous there, and I will always, always be thankful he was safe. Thank you, friend~

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  10. Hi Shelly....we lived in Arizona for a decade before the TX coast....and I must say...long, long, long ago, well....I will NEVER forget my first glimpse of the Grand Canyon.

    I'm sure you'll have nightmares of this little boy for weeks to come. What a strange woman. It's unbelievable.

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    1. HOOTIN ANNI: The beauty there is more than words can carry. Truly strange woman- shouldn't have been a mom.

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  11. Poor child with a mom like that, not watching him, and a bad temper too.

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    1. Terra: I so hope he has good people in his life~

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  12. Oh my goodness, that woman has NO idea, none, how lucky she was that fate had you at that precise spot at that precise moment in time, You must still be in shock. Ungrateful wench!! Sorry, but she is!
    Other than that sounds like an impressive trip. Grand Canyon.....amazing. Would love to see it. xx

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    1. jazzygal: Amazing ungratefulness, but all that counts is that he was safe. Hope you are better~

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  13. I've only seen the Grand Canyon from the air. Your photo is gorgeous. As for that little boy's mother, what in the world was she thinking to let him bring a scooter on the trail to begin with. And ungrateful to boot. Sometimes you just gotta take the high road.

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    1. Carol: I thought the same thing- a SCOOTER at the Grand Canyon? I'm so glad they don't live near me...

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  14. This makes me so sad, and angry, and .... so many emotions! Praise God that you were there. I wonder what great plans He has in store for that little guy, because it certainly wasn't his time to go any further. ((hugs))

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    1. Say What: They must be great plans, indeed. I hope he accomplishes amazing things- and thank you!

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  15. I would be so scared shitless, and that woman what ungrateful bitch.............

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    1. Jo-Anne: I don't even know if my heart was beating. I just can't get over some people...

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  16. You've got to be kidding me, 'Stranger Danger' Ok so I get the message, but under the circumstances - one she let her child scoot too far ahead of her and two she should have seen and appreciated your concern for her child! Some people! Now on another note, I don't care for heights myself and seeing your lovely picture, although beautiful, it makes my knees knock and my stomach churn

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    1. Saimi: It is such a steep and deep drop that the brain almost can't process it. I CANNOT imagine letting a little one there loose right at the edge. Lord help us...

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  17. Enough charm to fill the canyon in that one. Huh? Stranger Danger? How about Canyon Catastrophe? Anyway, loved your description of the experience. Visiting the Grand Canyon is on my bucket list. Sure hope, Charmimg Charity isn't there the day I am. (:

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    1. Linda: I hope she never visits there again, especially with her children!

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  18. Wow. Obviously not a good parent. Why would she even let her kid scooter near the edge of the canyon? I'm glad you were there to help in case there was a problem. You're a good soul!

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    1. Sherry: I think anyone would have done the same, except probably her...

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  19. Wow, I didn't realize I was holding my breath until just now. I'm glad you were there. I went hiking this past week with some friends. There was a teenager lounging on the rock closest to the edge. He seemed secure and comfortable, but I could not relax until we moved on. I do not like heights. Heights and three year olds and scooters? That's crazy business.

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    1. Chicken: A recipe for disaster, right? I don't get some people's lack of a sense of danger...

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  20. That is so sad, but I hope you can feel good about it because you did the right thing.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Janie: I am SO thankful he is fine.

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  21. You were that little boy's guardian angel that day. I see this sort of thing all the time. People are unappreciative. Thank god for your being there. We went through a mountain pass once in Colorado, and when I looked out the window I had to scoot down on the floor board.

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    1. Linda: I'm like you- I kept telling my husband to slow down in the west Texas mountains. Gulp- I don't understand that mom at all.

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  22. Oh my God!! Even after you explained and she must have seen how distraught you were!! It's sad that people implement the stranger danger in their kids instead of embracing the village! I for one am grateful that you were there that day!

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    1. Roshni: Exactly- and I don't think she will ever understand how close her son came to tragedy that day...

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  23. I am impressed, but not surprised that you would overcome your fear to rescue a child. Good job!

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    1. Nonnie: It certainly was a lesson to me- thank you!

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  24. Anyone can have children. Makes you wonder who raised that mother. *sigh*

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  25. Wow. Now, if that were me, I would have hugged you and thanked you and cried tears of relief right along with you. YOU ARE AMAZING. You know that right?

    I have a dog story kind of like that, a story of a dog in a really hot vehicle for a really long time.

    It has to be pride, right? Pride in people where they can't admit they might be wrong about something.

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    1. Jamie: You would never have let any of your sweet kids in that situation. I hope that woman wises up before something bad happens. And good for you!

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  26. Wow. Maybe this lady has been told so many times about her negligent parenting that her insecurities trump her will to improve at this point? Who knows. Thank God you helped that little boy. While I *am* an advocate of the stranger danger warning, common sense should have told this lady you were helping, not hurting. That, and the cliff that was visible to this woman a few feet away.

    Two years ago, I helped a little girl stand up after she jumped off of a picnic table and landed face first in the dirt. Her mom had been chitchatting several feet away. When the mom saw me helping her daughter up, she sprinted to her daughter and screamed, "I don't think so, girlfriend!" without stopping to thank me as I was obviously assisting her child while clutching my own child's hand with my free hand. I was not pleased at this mom's rudeness. Now, every time I see this mom, I say, "What's up, girlfriend," in maybe not the nicest tone. Hee hee. She won't look me in the eye. It's my confrontational nature, Shelly. Too much Mediterranean blood. :-)

    Be well. I've missed you. Glad you're back!

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    1. J Scribbles: Ha! I love it. Perhaps she'll remember that. It's always right to do the right thing even when no one appreciates it.

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  27. That was very nice and very brave of you to step in there. The mother of that boy is an idiot.

    Isn't the Grand Canyon amazing? It is too big to describe properly.

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    1. Pat: I saw the very best and some of the very worst that day, for sure.

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  28. So many morons out there.

    And too few angels. It's so good that you are one of them.

    Pearl

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    1. Pearl: I'm just glad someone was there to pull him away. It's not his fault his mom is a dodo.

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  29. You did the right thing Shelly and it doesn't matter that his folks are idiots.
    JIlda and I were at the Grand Canyon a few years ago and it was stunningly beautiful.
    R

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    1. Rick: There just aren't words to describe how amazing that place is~

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  30. To experience something so massive, so expansive. To climb to the tops of mountains and gain that incredible feeling and perspective. Wow. Then, to be grounded.To notice the small child in a vast world, and how close, how fragile and temporary our lives are. Since my parent's accident on our wedding day, I developed this belief; that each one of our steps are guided. How many footsteps led you to reach for that child's hand? God knew. And he sent you.

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    1. Jenny: There is always such beauty in your words, even in commenting. I love thinking about those last two lines~

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  31. Dear Shelly, it's amazing and a tribute to your understanding of children that you knew just the right words to led the child away from the cliff's edge to safety. You were at that moment his guardian angel. And if his mother didn't appreciate that, then she missed the grace of the moment. It's at times like the one you describe, when I have lived through danger, that I find myself singing one of the songs from the convent that ends with "Deo Gratias!" Peace.

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    1. Dee: Oh, how appropriate- Deo Gratias! Even if the mother wasn't, I always will be.

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  32. I'd like to think the mom will "get it" after awhile and see you were an angel. She may always be looking in a crowd for your face to apologize and thank you.

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    1. Bossy Betty: I hope so. I hope she comes to a bigger awareness of all things~

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