A friend of mine recently returned from a trip out west, where he attended his son’s college graduation.
Today he writes to me that the trip went very well except for hitting the wall while driving up a narrow winding road to the top of Pike’s Peak. He says he has a big fear of heights, and between that and the altitude, he had to stop and turn around. He almost made it to the peak. He says his son was with him, but he'd been there before, so at least he didn't ruin it for him.
He says there were great views on the way down, but even then he needed to go very slowly and deliberately. It was quite a white knuckle drive, and he was glad to have it over.
I tell him I’m in an agony of a sort for him about the heights and the narrow winding road. I tell him that when I am driving up a long steep hill, I have a fear of the car tipping over backwards. This I blame on a dream I had as a child, but who knows?
This vague fear was with me in New York several times but more intensely driving over a suspension bridge into Savannah, GA with my brother. It was made worse because I felt stupid and didn't think I could tell him. I wanted to pull over and give him the wheel, but the bridge wasn’t that high; not Pike’s Peak. We crested the bridge in a few moments. I tell my friend that I guess I’m saying I feel the trauma.
Perhaps this strange fear of going uphill steeply is a metaphor for some way I’m feeling about life or some such, but maybe not. Maybe we're just two friends who didn’t know about the fear of heights thing about each other, connecting while going uphill, steeply.