When you choose to swim in a public place it can be a bit crowded. You may already be friends with some of the people swimming with you while others are strangers to you and content to watch the activities from the dry land. It’s useful to have a wetsuit as an extra layer of protection from the shockingly cold water, but not everyone watching is interested in swimming or in some cases even dipping a toe into the water to see if it might be fun to join the others.
Sometimes there are people with less life experience who may be watching more closely than others as you consider the risky moves … the moves that might not be so easy or could make you feel a bit scared when you consider that you might get hurt if you actually take a chance and jump.
Of course there will be people who will be shocked by your actions and watch in disbelief as you dive in with your eyes wide open to the possibility of pain or even perhaps a lasting injury.
But you do it anyway … because long ago you told yourself that life was for living even with all the fear and sadness and the chance for heartache and that no one was going to keep you from feeling the everyday joy that was as tightly woven through your being as the need to try new things. You open your arms wide before slipping into the water and feel the cold more intensely on your wet face as you surface than you did when you hit the water thirty seconds before.
Others who’ve been watching decide to take the leap as well and while they seem fearless in their actions they feel afraid in mid-air when they realize what they’ve done.
As they break the surface of the water and their head appears safely in sight, a loud wail of pain echos back up the cliff to the watchers along the edge causing a mix of kind strangers and family and friends to move through the water to offer help and concern.
They hold the young girl child up supporting her and offering comfort and a safe ride back to shore.
So she goes back to land having been helped by a group of people … some there by design and others just passing by.
I wanted to say thank you to everyone who took time to share their thoughts and kind comments on this post and through email. The things you said were uplifting and healing and once again remind me of how thoughtful and generous the blogging community can be. So many of you have become friends (or were old friends already) and even though we may not have met yet in person and perhaps never will, I value the gifts you share with me and with others who may find comfort or something else they need in a comment you leave behind.
As for my reader in Evansville, I saw Evansville, Indiana on my sitemeter Saturday evening which was the day I posted this request, but they left no message and have not been back as far as I can tell. It is really okay with me now and the substitution I’ll do if I see Evansville again will be the images above from Sunday when John and I took a walk and saw the brave souls leaping off the cliff into the safety of folks down below.
Your sweet comments made me see the connection between taking a daring jump and revealing a painful past and how much easier it is to risk both when you have friends at the ready to offer kind assistance if it turns out to be scary or too painful.
Thanks for listening and even more … thanks for helping me find a new image to wash away the old one.
Once again a great post. So glad that are working thru the items from the past. And what wonderful scenery as usual! Thanks so much for sharing the beauty of Cornwall. England truly is the Garden of the World and my favorite place to visit. Hope you enjoyed your trip to the states and I’m sure you are glad to now be away from our heat!
Brokenness can be a good thing – I seem to never get over it – things come up to the surface. I remember Evansville, IN when we camped there or stayed in a motel – I can’t remember – a few years ago when we took some trips – this one down to Kentucky and then to Penn. I really enjoyed Abe’s woods hike – it’s a beautiful area. I think being transparent is very healing, especially when you have caring people around. God bless!!
Glad to see you are back in Cornwall enjoying Summer days. I read back and was saddened to learn that your childhood was so hard. However, it’s obvious that you and Margaret weathered those storms and have made great strides through life even without a mother’s help. Be happy Elizabeth knowing you have blessed your own daughter with a true mother’s love. You are special.
As for the cliff jumpers, oh to be young and brave again! My son jumped out of a plane when he was coerced into sky diving by a girl friend some years ago – his memorable remark to us was, “as soon as I jumped I thought what on earth have I done!”. He’s never jumped a second time, ha! ha!
Fri. I’m off to California for a week – trying to get away from this southeastern heat which just won’t stop!
I frequently admire how well you use the photographs and your words to create a powerful metaphor. This one is beautiful.
You do know that when you write your book, you’ll have to do a book tour and come to kansas City, don’t you? If you can bear to leave Cornwall! So beautiful. I made it to the Cotswalds and to Wales but did not make it to Cornwall. Maybe next time.
You amaze me. Your English teachers would be so proud! I just remembered the class we had together in high school. Journalism. Ha. I took it as an elective because there wasn’t anything else to take, and I thought it would be easy. You must have taken it more seriously.
I taught for 37 years before retiring just over a year ago. For many of those years I taught kindergarten. When I went through college, I was trained to teach curriculum. However, learning the latest teaching techniques didn’t adequately prepare me for life in the classroom. Every year I would have a sea of fresh little faces before me. Some children came from loving families. Others, like you, came from abusive families. There were years when 3/4 of the children in my class were troubled in one way or another. Child Protective Services came to our school frequently.
I think there is absolutely no excuse for an adult to abuse a child. Ever. There are reasons why they do, but there is no excuse for it in my book. Many times the parent was abused as a child themselves or were heavily involved with drugs or alcohol. And sometimes, the parent had a mean streak or needed power that defied rationalization. Again, those are reasons not excuses.
It was always my most fervent wish that prospective parents take a mandatory parenting class (and get a license) before having children. But, most parenting classes if taken occur after their child enters school. Some (but not all) family courts require parents to take classes after a complaint has been filed.
You may never know why you were abused or why no adult came to your rescue. Abuse is an extremely difficult cycle to break. But, it can be done. You seem to have an inner resilience that has brought you through the trauma. You have not passed on the abuse to your daughter. You are a success and you did it on your own. And for that you should be very, very proud.
You are so awesome, Elizabeth! And thank you for sharing these incredible photos. They reminded me of my childhood, when my brother John and I would be dropped off at the Boca Inlet by my father and we would take turns jumping into the inlet to see if we could swim across before being swept out to sea….needless to say, we were totally unaware of the danger…what a joyous time.
And please send my thanks to John, for the lovely comment he left on my blog about Guernsey during WWII. That book really struck a chord with many readers. And I appreciated hearing John’s thoughts. And if I closed my eyes, I could imagine I was receiving a note from Sean Connory!!! (hee hee!)
We are both called Elizabeth, we both live in the SW of the UK, we are both finding healing and safety being here by the looks of things. I asked my father a few years back why he had been so brutal towards me when I was a child, hoping, anticipating he might apologise, but he said ‘because you were a wilfull child’. I was glad when he died.
My god, E, my stomach is all clenched and I can barely breathe. I just read your request post and I can’t think of anything else. One giant hug to you.
I am glad all those people helped that young injured girl who jumped off the cliff.
What a wonderful photo documentary of WHY we live, WHY we DO! Thank you so very much for sharing your experiences! ~J