Neither is my sister-in-law. Though she could have been. She was brave enough to take the doomed maiden voyage down Big Man's homemade zip line. He has been working and tinkering on this for months. He has been doing complex math equations with fervor and consulting websites and studying weight and gravity with gusto. Anyone who has expressed interest, concern, mere curiosity, or simply had a pulse within the two mile radius of this project has had input. Some of them were even engineers.
Alas, the brake system failed because of high speed and a steep incline.
Anne, Big Man's older sister, whoops and laughs in the best of times. It turns out she does the same in the worst of times. For this we are grateful. It also turns out that Big Man DOES express emotion. It turns out his face can contort in fear, his body can move quickly when trying to break what might appear to be a hard crash. It turns out glasses can break (Ann's), bodies bruise (again, poor Ann), and spirits and shoulders sag (Big Man's) when a dream is dashed in the span of thirty seconds.
The zip line was immediately disassembled out of fear of errant, curious, thrill-seeking children trying what they must not. Reckless behavior, even well-intentioned and heavily monitored, is reserved for only big people. Apparently.
I write from the stories told. I could not bear witness to any of this. Since that cold winter night when a kernel of a dream began I have watched and contributed little beyond, "Are you sure? How do you KNOW?" These, I admit, are not exactly supportive phrases. But I did nothing to stop the project.
Family gatherings are many things, but thrilling doesn't usually top the list of descriptors. Until recently.
At any rate, we have all survived a week together. Much of it was fun, much of it was sweet, and much of it was just want we wanted. But this one little part, the one Big Man has yet to comment upon four days later, is still just kind of sitting there. I am sure family members will eye roll, giggle uncomfortably, and murmur phrases that mention God. Who knows? But I will say this with equal parts pride and fear, there will be another dream....there always is.