flash fiction Riding the Zipline Down Under

Riding the Zipline Down Under #flashfiction

I’m not known for being adventurous. I don’t like heights or enclosed spaces or cars that speed. I’m not sure where my fears originated but they generally don’t bother me too much as they have little effect on my everyday life. I don’t have to clean windows on high-rise buildings, and I don’t operate the lifts inside them. I generally take the stairs if going only one or two floors, always checking the door will open again before closing it behind me. I can manage travelling in a lift, especially if there are few other occupants and it goes directly to my floor, but I am always relieved when it arrives and the doors open to release me.

I have never and will never ride a roller coaster or bungy jump; and haven’t as yet and probably won’t, travel on one of those ‘Eyes of’ the world. I don’t feel I am missing out by not doing most of these things. I think life is exciting enough without them.

That’s not to say I haven’t ever done anything I found terrifying. When I visited the Great Wall of China outside Beijing, I had to take a chairlift up to the top. My heart was racing, and my palms were sweaty, but I did it. Then I had to take a flume ride down to the bottom. If pressured, I might say it was even a little bit fun, but I wouldn’t choose to do it again, unless I had no choice as in this instance.

Probably the one thing I think I would love to do, if I was brave enough, is hot air ballooning. I think the sensation of floating up there in the air, looking down on the world, would be amazing. But it could also be terrifying. If I could get on without being overcome by anxiety and knew I could come down when I wanted, I’d probably do it; but I think that’s for another life.

Surprisingly, perhaps, I love being in a plane and looking down at the earth below. One would think a fear of heights and claustrophobia would prevent this. I can’t explain why it doesn’t. I love the moment of lift off, of being taken up into the air. I always thought it would be great to be a bird flying above the earth, looking down. It is a beautiful view. Perhaps that’s why Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach is one of my favourite books.

Anyway, because of my reluctance to do some of these adventurous things like jump out of a plane, go zorbing or ride a zipline, people close to me often joke that they will do them if I will, knowing full well that I won’t, and they won’t have to admit their own reluctance.

So, I was amused this week by a conversation with friend and fellow writer D. Avery on her post Zip: SixSentenceStory. (Please pop over to read it.)

In D.’s story, her young character Marlie made a zipline from the top of the fort for her doll. I was picturing a playground flying fox which I think I would have enjoyed as a child, had they been invented then, and commented that ziplines are fun. (My grandchildren love flying foxes.) D. replied, ‘… let’s agree to disagree on the fun-ness of zip lines. Tell you what, Buddy, you go first.’ Well, that sounded like a challenge to me and I told her that we could maybe go together in a next life or in a story. And so, the story was born, with a little help from Charli Mills.

At the Carrot Ranch this week, Charli challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about dressing up. It can be a child or another character. Be playful or go where the prompt leads!

Perhaps it is a stretch to go from dressing up to a zipline, but we’d have to dress differently from our everyday, wear a harness, and harness a persona we wouldn’t normally wear, so I hope the stretch isn’t too far. After all, it is pure play through story and from USA to Australia is only halfway around the world. Charli always says to go where the prompt leads …

I hope you (especially you, D.) enjoy it.

Riding the Zipline Down Under

Many hid behind Norah’s fear of heights, speed and enclosed spaces. “I’ll do anything Norah does,” they’d boast, feigning bravery. D. said she’d ride the zipline from its start, high up in the US, all the way Down Under, if Norah did.

Dressed for warmth and to prevent chafing, they adjusted their harnesses. “You first,” said D., still not believing Norah would do it.

“Whee! I’m flying; flying without wings,” sang Norah, zooming across the landscape.

“I’m dying,” screamed D., squeezing her eyes shut.

“We’re here,” said Norah. “Welcome to Australia.”

“That was amazing,” said D. “I did it!”

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

60 thoughts on “Riding the Zipline Down Under #flashfiction

  1. LucciaGray

    Fun story, Norah, and a nice introduction to how your mind took you there:) I hear you. I’m not fond of lifts or enclosed, small places, so I avoid them whenever I can, but I cope when confronted with the situation, as you do. I don’t think we’re alone in this, I’d say ancestral, fear. Our reptilian brain is trying to protect us, from a fear we once experienced. At least that’s my take!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Dress Up « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  3. Kate

    I’m not an adventurer – I’m like you in that there is enough excitement in my life, as it is. I do like your idea that we can still do all these things vicariously through the stories we write. Imagination – a nation where anything is possible. Great take on the prompt. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your wonderful comment, Kate. Yes, we can be whatever we want to be in our imagination. In fact, we begin most of what we achieve by first imagining it.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  4. Patricia Tilton

    Fun story. I don’t mind heights if I can ride an elevator and be there, stand still and acclimate myself to my surroundings. Then I can enjoy the view. But don’t like climbing fire towers, double ferris wheels, etc. I’ve often thought about hot air ballooning, but would have to sit in the bottom and wait till I was up before I could peer out. Ziplining sounds fun, but risky.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Patricia. I’d choose an elevator over stairs too. One thing I know I wouldn’t do is walk out on a glass walkway, like I’ve heard they have at the Grand Canyon.
      I think I’d probably sit in the bottom of the balloon basket with you. 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  5. Jules

    There are some things I think I’d be willing to do just in my imagination!
    I think though a zip line would be just a tad safer than hang-gliding or even tether hang-gliding (attached to speed boat on – over the ocean).

    I did get to ride in a helicopter for a short trip from our local airport to our local hospital as a pretend patient for a volunteer drill. But I still would like to go up in a hot air balloon!

    Fun to read your explanations and story! Glad you had company with D. too. I enjoyed her response too. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences, Jules. I haven’t been in a helicopter. I imagine it could be exhilariting and terrifying at the same time. The view would be magnificent and worth the fear, perhaps. You were brave to tackle it as a drill.
      I’m pleased you enjoyed the post – a flight in imagination.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  6. calmkate

    lol if we can do it in our imagination we can manage it in real life!

    I went up in a hot air balloon in Brisbane and we flew over my house adventure of a lifetime .. you’re missing out if you don’t try it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Imagination is a great first step into many things, I will admit.
      I’m pleased you enjoyed your ride in a hot air balloon. I may just do it – one day, but I won’t feel I’ve missed out if I don’t. I’ve done other things I’ve enjoyed, and still do. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  7. D. Wallace Peach

    A fun story, Norah. I used to be more adventurous than I am now, and the older I get, the less comfortable I feel with heights. Yikes. I love the “I’ll do it, if you do” taunt. It can occasionally backfire too. Lol. I loved the thrill of the story and the success!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  8. Sam "Goldie" Kirk

    I had so much fun reading your story at the Ranch and then coming here to check out the back story. And D’s response was awesome, too.

    I love zip-lining. It’s so much fun and over too soon. I consider myself open to adventure, but I haven’t done too many of the things you listed, either.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you Goldie. I’m pleased you enjoyed it. D.’s story is fun, isn’t it.
      Ziplining does look like fun for those brave enough to do it! Good on you for having an adventurous spirit (and body!)

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  9. petespringerauthor

    I enjoyed your piece, Norah. “Feigning bravery” was an excellent description for a character because we’ve all probably done things where we acted braver than we felt.

    Fear is such an interesting concept, and it is hard to understand where our phobias come from. To this day, I can’t hold a snake, even though I’ve never been bitten. I do remember baling hay one summer and having a close encounter with a garter snake. I was lifting a bale onto a flatbed truck, and the snake, who had gotten trapped in the bale, was suddenly waving a couple of inches away from my face. I wonder if it was as scared as me. “Get that ugly dude out of here!”

    I like roller coasters even though they are scary at the same time. On the other hand, I have no interest in those rides that drop what seems like hundreds of miles per hour. I have yet to do a zipline or ride in a hot air balloon, but I’m pretty sure I will when given the opportunity. They sound more fun than scary to me—sort of the same feeling I get on roller coasters.

    By the way, what does the reference “eyes of the sky” refer to? I thought it might be airplanes, but then later, you mentioned you weren’t fearful of those, so that can’t be it. Or perhaps you were referring to roller coasters? I reread your thoughts, and I’m still not sure.

    Like

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I am pleased you enjoyed my post, Pete. I appreciate your lovely comment in which you share your own thoughts and experiences.
      I think most of us aren’t too brave around snakes. They can be deadly after all. I had a few experiences with them when I was very young and living on a farm but not up close and personal like your experience.
      I’m pleased you like roller coasters and I hope you get to go on a zipline and in a hot air balloon. I’ve been thinking about hot air balloons again since writing this post. Perhaps I should get some of those ‘I will if Norah will’ to join me. 🙂 One day, perhaps.
      I’m sorry the ‘eye’ reference was obscure. I was referring to the large ferris wheels in cities that are often referred to as e.g. ‘Eye of London’ and ‘Eye of Paris’. We have one here is Brisbane. It is called the Wheel of Brisbane, but many refer to it as the ‘eye’. They are tall wheels that enable a view of the city when at the top.

      Like

      Reply
  10. Annika Perry

    Norah, your story has me smiling! Flying is such an incredible feeling of freedom and Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach is also one of my favourite books along with his Illusions. His love of flying oozes from the pages and if I was ever brave enough I’d love to be a passenger in a glider plane!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased my story made you smile, Annika.
      I went in a glider once, many years ago. It was an amazing experience. One does have to be brave to give control of our lives to someone else.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  11. Darlene

    A cute story. Like you, I am not adventurous that way at all. But I enjoyed my hot air balloon ride hubby gave me for my birthday a few years ago. I was not afraid at all and loved every dreamlike minute of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  12. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Oh, Norah. What a zip trip it was! We did it. We soared on a story line.
    And you beat me too it, but I left something for you at Carrot Ranch. (I also left something in my big-girl pants whilst zip-lining across the Pacific.)
    What a geography lesson. What would that straight line look like? What did we see? What about the time zone thing? Did we zip into tomorrow? Hmmm.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks, D. I love the story you left at the Carrot Ranch. I beat you to it, but only because you told me to go first. 🙂 I think that zipline would be pretty incredible. I think Zooming is our best way to zipline at the moment, or forever. You may have zipped into tomorrow, but I think I may have zipped right out of here. 🙂 Thanks for joining in the fun.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  13. Anne Goodwin

    Second try with this:

    What a lovely 99-word story you’ve created from the power of online friendships. Certainly a different take on dressing up.

    Your reflections helped me reflect on what scares and doesn’t scare me. I think it’s a combination of speed and lack of control. So my poor husband’s still disappointed from the only time I accepted a ride on his motorbike almost 20 years ago, but I don’t think I’d be too scared to go up in a balloon, although never done it.

    And I don’t hold with the notion of having to overcome all our fears – unless they’re interfering with something we really want/need to do.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for persisting with comments, Anne. I don’t know why my blog tries to buck you off.
      I know it’s not quite the dressing up you had in mind when you prompted Charli, but we’re really just a pair of kids dressing up and having fun, pretending to be adventurous.
      I agree with you about fears. I often question myself about that one. I don’t think they’ve held me too far back yet. What I could see from the top of a tower, I can see in photographs. 🙂
      I also agree with you about lack of control. I think we all like to be in control of lives. It’s difficult when we have no control at all.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.