Sunday 5 April 2009

Across The Abyss

When I was in my early teens, I was doing lots of sports, namely what in German is called Leichtathletik and consists of running (100 m sprint, 400 and 800 m mid distance), jumping (long jump and high jump) and some other disciplines that I was less good at.

At 14, I was doing reasonably well at the 800 m run as well as high and long jump.
For long jump, the result I would reach on an average day was at about 4,85 m, which is, as far as I know, very much the average for girls of that age and of my height.

I remember well how I used to mull this number over in my head, thinking about situations in which being able to jump 4,85 m far would come in handy.

One scenario I sometimes imagined was being in a threatening situation, running away from something or someone which or who was trying to "get me" (without ever specifying what or who this could be), and in the course of the chase coming upon an abyss that was about 4 m wide.
Crossing this abyss would mean I was safe, and certainly 4 m was a distance I was easily able to overcome with one single jump.

But would I recoil from the jump, knowing that what I was going to jump across was really not just the sand pit on our sports grounds, but an abyss so deep I would die if I fell down there?

Or would desperation give me enough courage to actually do it, jump across and safely land on the other side?

Of course, I never found out, because I have never really been in that situation.
But I quite like the analogy it presents to other areas in my life where there are symbolic abysses to cross which I, more often than not, sadly and stupidly lack the courage to tackle.

No comments:

Post a Comment