I’m terribly afraid of heights. Most people who know me, learn this fairly quickly. There have been times I have been faced with this fear. Most recently was this past weekend (Friday to be specific).
Tony invited me to go with him to the flower show at the Washington National Cathedral. Last year he went and had a blast and I was really looking forward to it, so we drove up to his parents’ house in Warrenton on Thursday and went to the flower show the next morning. We wandered around for a while (during which time, Tony suggested I think about going up in the bell tower with him). After we finished lunch at a nearby restaurant, Tony said we should head back to the Cathedral if we were going to climb the bell tower. I was still a little nervous since he said that last year, a member of his family who is not known for a fear of heights became apprehensive on the second set of stairs. In the end, he convinced me to climb the first set of stairs and look at the next set to see if I thought I could make it. So we bought our tickets and climbed the first set of stairs, which put me in mind of a set of stairs in a lighthouse. Rather than being generally the same size all the way up as in the lighthouses I’ve climbed, these stairs started out fairly wide, like a normal set of straight stairs, but eventually shrunk to just wide enough for a person to get by. Hugging the wall didn’t make me feel very secure by that point.
At the top of the stairs was a passageway to the next set of stairs we were to climb. Looking at the stairs, I decided I could make it to the top, so we started our climb. I managed to get in front of Tony (for some reason, being in front of someone I trust when I climb things makes me feel better, for some reason) and we made it to the carillon at the top of those stairs without too much anxiety.
From the carillon, we looked out over the cathedral and surrounding area before being introduced to the carillon, it’s bells, and some other general information before being herded to the third and final set of stairs, which ascend into the part of the tower where the huge bells are rung (we didn’t actually get to see the biggest bells). Getting up those stairs wasn’t too terribly difficult either. It wasn’t a picnic, but it wasn’t like riding in an airplane (you can ask Tony or Dad about that).
The view was incredible and going back down was fairly easy.