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A Moment of Persistence

By: Marina Han

It is the first day of a nine-day camp and it was warm and sunny. Right after lunch, we walk into the woods at the edge of campus and there is a high ropes course in between two enormous trees. High up are six platforms shaped like discs and attached to each of them are three ropes. They are very long, almost touching the ground, and have a noose at the end. Below each disc are three people holding one rope each. They have to balance out their strength of pulling and trying to make the disc up above as flat as possible. On each side of the course, someone climbs up the tree and has to get onto the closest disc, while the people below try to keep it flat. Next, people have to pull the ropes one way or the other to move the discs close to each other so the climber can step onto the next one. When the two climbers are both on the third disc from their tree, they will high five and finally come down.

For most of the time, I am on the ground pulling on the ropes. It is difficult; I have to look up at the discs to try to keep it flat and pull on the rope extremely hard. My hands are turning flaming red and are aching; my finger muscles are becoming tense.

Near the end, I get my turn to try the ropes course. The counselor fixes my harness and helmet and I am on my way. I climb up a ladder and place my foot on a tiny step that is attached to the tree. I do not look back and just keep on climbing-one foot after the other. I get to the top where there is a small wooden platform hanging off the side of the tree. I kneel and look under me. My breath catches in my throat. I am so high up. For a second, I feel the urge to quit but I remember that I have a rope attached to me so that if I fall, I will not plummet to the ground.

I try to grip the rope at the disc closest to me. I place both my feet on the disc but suddenly, the disc flops sideways and I almost fall off. My body shaking, I try to maintain my balance and keep the disc flat.

I move toward the next disc, reaching for the rope. But it is so far away…. Aha! I got it! When I place my feet on the platform, it is, again, flipping sideways, and this time, I actually fall. I watch my feet slide off the disc and suddenly, I am floating in the air, suspended by my rope. I am immediately filled with the feeling of anger-why are the people below not making the discs flat? This is all their fault. But then I hear the sound of people yelling encouragement for me. You can do this! You got this! Let’s go, Marina! Anger leaves me and my heart fills with appreciativeness for these people.

I see the girl on the other side of the course quitting. She climbs back down and reaches the ground. I am determined. I will reach the third disc and I will finish this. I really can do this.

I take a big breath and grip the rope harder. I pull myself up and wobble on the disc. I reach for the third disc’s rope and grip it as hard as I can as I step onto the platform. I keep on wobbling and sliding, but… I did it! I actually did the ropes course. I hear the people below yelling praise and I laugh. I am finally done.

I slowly fall down from the disc and I sigh. Wow.

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