The theme of the field trip was “Rocks.” We reached Point A, near the eastern shore of Green Bay, WI. The children sat on the lawn and a savvy guide lead us all through some history and warnings. The following fragments stood out: decaying bridge-over-waterfall (sign 2), guard rails (sign 3), single-file decent (sign 4). Ignoring signs is becoming a bad habit.
Point B began with an over-capacity school bus filled with sandwiched children, 3 to a seat, an exit path packed with 25 parents, and ended with a sharp decline down a steep, slope into a quarry.
But Point C had the most rules:
1. “Don’t touch the poison ivy.”
2. “Gravity is at work. Use your muscles to keep you from going too fast down the bluff.”
3. “Don’t go past the igneous rock formation—that’s the “Falling Rocks” zone.”
4. “...Blah, blah, blah...single-file, loop around...stay close to cliff.”
There were a lot more rules, but once she said, “...close to cliff,” all I heard was THUMP, THUMP, THUMP--drumbeats of a quickening pulse. As we walked down the path, I did indeed feel gravity pulling me. I remembered:
“Lemmings follow each other off cliffs. You’re being a Lemming!”
“What goes down must go back up again.”
But all the other parents were doing it, and pride kept me from saying, “I’ll wait in my car.”
When we reached the bottom, the bus followed down a road to meet us. The children were running late, and they hurried on the bus. All the parents started climbing a vertical stairway back up the cliff. No parent was getting a ride.
The presenting staircase was tall and rustic. I muttered, “You’d have to be a Grand Canyon donkey to get back up that bluff.” We parents needed to get back up fast in order to pick up our kids from school. So...I started climbing the stairs...quickly. At stair 10, I started wheezing. By stair 50, parents were passing me, so I side-stepped and hugged the cliff to allow more room...brushing a poison ivy patch. I thought about crying, but I needed the hydration to produce the race-horse foam filling my arid mouth.
I did make it home, but next time, I’m having my ear banded like a repopulated moose, so someone can find me on Mt. Stupidity.
And I’ll be looking into renting a donkey named “Pride.”