Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!
No not me…. my-loving-adoring-stubborn “it-can’t-happen-to-me” husband. Yep, out in the middle of nowhere, in the Yosemite National Forest, on the Mirror lake trail, he decided that he was going to climb a massive boulder so he could get the perfect picture.
If it doesn’t sound like I have much sympathy for him, then let me start at the beginning… the beginning of our relationship thirty-six years ago. Ever since we’ve been together, we’ve loved to hike, camp, white-water river raft, snow ski—just about anything outside, show us how, and we’re game.
But with this adventurous spirit, he’s more the risk taker than I am. I’m the one in the back saying…. Honey, don’t get too close to the cliff, Honey, it says “No Swimming Due to Undertow,” … Honey, the sign says ‘Keep Out’, maybe we shouldn’t go in there, Honey, there are sharks in the water—and I have to admit, over the last thirty years, it has mostly worked in his favor, with just a small collection of scrapes and bruises.
Well not this time.
Being vaccinated, and the mask mandate lifted for outdoors, we were excited for some normalcy, so naturally, our first adventure was to Yosemite National Park. This beautiful forest with its ancient sequoia trees, and majestic water falls, is not far from the house, but because of its breath-taking magnificence, it feels like a world away.
As we hiked the trail up the mountain, several times he would exit the trail and stand close to the cliff to take pictures. At one point, I looked down at his tennis shoes, and he was standing on a slope covered with leaves. Yes, my heart stopped! I just knew he would slip, and off the cliff he would go. (And thus, the reason I always carry the car keys, ensuring I had a way to get home!)
Not another twenty steps later, he saw another ‘must have’ picture. Before I knew it, he was climbing up the side of a twenty-foot boulder, camera in hand.
Sometimes, I’d rather turn my head and not watch, than to see the last seconds of his life before he goes over a cliff. It’s that’s scary for me. This was one of those times, but after a few minutes, long enough that he could have gotten his shot and climbed back down, I turned around in hopes of seeing him hiking up the trail towards me…. But no. What I saw was him falling off the boulder onto the trail, and landing on his butt.
The ‘man’ that he is, he quickly jumped up, and wiped the dirt off the seat of his pants. Relieved that he wasn’t hurt, we continued the hike.
It wasn’t long before I could see that he was hurt more than he was letting on, and by the time we made it back home, hours later, his left knee was the size of a grapefruit, and his right ankle was the size of a baseball.
Well, the next morning, after a trip to Urgent Care, he found out that he’d broken his left tibia, and may have possible ligament tears, and his right ankle was severely sprained. The man who doesn’t often take long vacations, now has a doctor’s note for a six-week vacation and a beautiful set of crutches.
It’s not so ironic that our marriage, and Gideon’s and Isaiah’s lives from my latest release, Gideon’s Wish, have so many similarities in them. In every book I write, some of my personal experiences, emotions, fears, and triumphs can be seen through the eyes of the characters. Growing up in the outdoors, Gideon, like my husband, is for sure the more adventures of the two. But like in any healthy relationship, there’s that balance that a couple finds that just makes their relationship click, a chemistry. I use to tell my husband, I’d follow him anywhere, and for thirty-six years, I guess I’ve done just that, despite my fears of what he may get us into. I loved that in Gideon’s Wish, as much as Gideon and Isaiah tried to ignore the chemistry they felt for the other, in the end, there was no denying it.
Josh Dale @MM Fiction Cafe summed it up nicely in a review of Gideon’s Wish—
“The emotions of the characters are almost tangible, like it is you that is in their situations. You cannot help to fall in love with them both and really root for them throughout their journey.”
I imagine many will say that Gideon’s and Isaiah’s story is our story….And maybe it is.