Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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The Day I Was Brave

The San Francisco Chronicle's coverage of today's festivities celebrating the 100th anniversary of the great San Francisco earthquake got me thinking again about the much smaller Big One that I experienced right before meeting Kim. And then I saw another story on the paper's home page about the work being done to reopen Devil's Slide, which reminded me of the long day trip that she and I took in April, 1990 in which we visited Santa Cruz for the first time since the Loma Prieta quake had destroyed most of its downtown shopping district. On the way down, we stopped at Devil's Slide and hiked all the way to the end of the rocky head you see in this photo:

In order to do that, you have to make your way up an extremely narrow path visible as the diagonal line on the side of this miniature peninsula. In the photo, it's hard to believe that human beings could traverse this path safely, since the drop off below it is practically sheer. In real life, it's even harder to believe. But, despite my fear of heights and generally cautious attitude towards life-threatening situations, I blithely strode up the path to the head's piney crown. There, Kim and I lingered for awhile, waiting patiently for a few moments of peace in that surprisingly busy spot. At one point, a man was swinging what I presumed to be his toddler-age son out over the cliff's edge in what was either a display of devil-may-care arrogance or an attempt to lessen the size of his brood by means of an "accident." Eventually, realizing that we were lucky to have managed one small window of silence, we headed back down the path. Kim was actually more scared than I was. I can't believe that the person who took two hours to climb ten feet up in a tree in Cub Scouts was actually able to give encouragement to someone else in a fear-of-falling scenario. But I did. Love makes people do the most improbable things.
Tags: autobiography, love

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