Conquering Fear for Adventure by Katherine McClain
It is an extremely late 8:30pm, way past your bedtime… You turn in and head to your tent. After slipping into your sleeping bag and lay your head against the pillow you are asleep. The next moment it is 9:14, you are startled awake to the sound of a distant roar of a lion only about a two-minute car ride away. At this moment your wishing you had something more than a nylon tent protecting you. At 9:22 he roars again. You try to talk yourself back to sleep, you tell yourself he already ate today. You tell yourself you will be fine. 9:45 he calls again this time a bit closer. You are nervous but you are hoping he will walk by camp. You listen for him but he never approaches camp. Eventually you fall asleep. You wake up around 5:30am to the end pant of a lion roar. You quickly get ready for the day and drive out into the direction of the lion roar.
His amber eyes watch you carefully as you approach, his head resting just above his bloody paws. His nose and mouth are caked with a deep red. The black tip of his tail flicks up and down. He lifts his head up to get a better look at you. You stare back, your heart pounding knowing that the only thing that separates you and this magnificent creature is some metal and plastic.
Annoyed, he slowly gets up from where he lay and begins to walk over to the battered giraffe carcass that lay only 15 meters away. He ignores your presence and passes by the giraffe and keeps walking. His body sways with each step. His paws caress the ground as he moves swiftly behind the car vanishing into some bushes. A soft roar erupts from behind the bushes, the sound becoming fainter as he moves further away. You drive away, chills run through your body. How could your morning get any better?
Your eyes shoot open to the sound of rustling behind your tent. You freeze unable to move. A chill runs through your body as the rustling begins again. Unable to move, you lay frozen trying to remain undetected. You finally gain up enough courage and lift up your head. You peer over the edge of your tent into vast shades of darkness. You see nothing, hear nothing. After you’re sure the coast is clear, you flip over onto your back. Without your glasses the stars are large fuzzy dots that decorate the dark blue sky. You watch several fly by you, their bright light slowly dimming as it stretches across the sky, finally it disappears altogether into the infinite darkness. You listen to the distant crickets chirping into the cool night air, it reminds you of summer nights back home. A hyena begins whooping not far behind your tent. A rush of fear and excitement washes over you as you listen closely. Not long after the hyena stops you roll over to your side and close your eyes. A smile spreads across your face. You are home.
You peer over the edge of a rock. You see a turtle swim beneath the crystal blue water. As you look down at the water you begin to shake. The drop is much further than you expected. You climb over the edge to sit at the top of the rock. Your heart is thumping out of your chest. Your hands clamp onto the rock. You look down at the water again contemplating your jump. You wonder what mystery waits underneath the glossy surface. Will you make it? There is no other way to get down. The crowd below counts down… 3, 2, 1. You let go of the rock and jump. You let out a yelp of excitement just before you break the surface of the water. It consumes you. You come up to the surface relieved. You scramble to the rock, ready to jump again.