The Cornice


Over spring break I took a leap of faith.

The final climb
Photo taken by my friend and fellow cornice traveller, Ron.

I climbed up, beyond the highest reaches of the ski lift, up onto a cornice of snow on Marmot Mountain in Jasper National Park. For years I have watched in awe as skiers appear as little specks as they climb, linger, and drop with smooth and curvy beauty down the mountain. Last week, I was one of those wee specks and I now know why they linger.

As I gained altitude, so too did my anxiety. I realized that going down the way I came up could be potentially worse than the ski jump down. Was skiing down truly something I could do?

After the climb, the view itself reminded me to pause and gather myself. The view served as a wonderful distraction from the feat that lay ahead. I could see the whole landscape – the mountain tops and the valleys that are unseen from the lower altitudes I inhabit.

The mountaintops
Mountain tops beyond the edge of the cornice
View to Portal Creek
The upper reaches of Portal Creek and the Tonquin Valley

And with my friends, from 9 to 55 years old, I stood on a threshold: go back the way we came, or find a new way. We chose to go over the edge. When it was my turn, I chose to jump over the edge.

Young travel companions

As I embark on my exploration of Chapter 8 – The City Making Exchange with you, these words from John O’Donohue’s blessing, For the Time of Necessary Decision, ring true:

Trust that a richer life awaits us there,

That we will lose nothing

But what has already died;

There are times when jumping over the edge is the right thing to do. As I reflect my sharing my writing in progress with you, I know far less about this last third of the book than the previous two. I am jumping into Nest City’s third part and trust that I will learn what I need to learn.

What are you jumping into?

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This post is part of Chapter 8 – The City Making Exchange. Here are some plot helpers of Nest City: The Human Drive to Thrive in Cities, the book I am sharing here while I search for a publisher:

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