It was unmistakable, the inner voice I heard as I hiked the rim trail at Crater Lake National Park.
Take your eyes off your feet.
I learned long ago, around the same time I first flew in an airplane and looked out the window, that I’m not afraid of heights. But I am afraid of falling. Put a barrier — a railing, a stone wall, an airplane window — between me and thin air, and I’ll walk right up and soak in the view. Take away the barrier and you’ll find me inching back from the edge, looking for a safe patch of ground.
There was no barrier along this stretch of trail. Just some grass and brush, and then a cliff of several hundred feet — the edge of Crater Lake. The view was amazing. But much of the time my head was down — noticing every bit of mud and every uneven spot that might make me slip or stumble.
That’s when the inner voice said Take your eyes off your feet.
Busted! I’d been so focused on avoiding a fall, that I’d lost sight of my goal: to enjoy the hike and see the scenery. I knew I had no excuse, except plain old fear.
So I took a deep breath, focused my eyes on the top of the next rise, about 100 yards ahead, and started walking. Continue reading