We had decided to visit the factory of Bega Cheese, in Bega NSW where they made cheddar cheese.
Our journey would take us past Canberra and Cooma and was about 5.1/2 hours from where we were, but we were in no hurry and had planned to stay overnight someplace.
We enjoyed the tour of the factory and bought some of their produce and on heading back booked at a motel for the night.
We noticed two lorikeets eating from a chair outside the motel and the owner directed us to a few streets away where at 6.00pm every day there was a late afternoon feeding session. What a treat we had. At precisely 6.00pm the birds started arriving. Many years ago I used to work in London at Trafalgar Square and remembered purchasing pigeon food and having the pigeons all over my arms feeding from the bowls in my hands. The Lorikeets bright colours of blue, red, orange, yellow and green made this event even more spectacular. The noise was deafening.
We had to smile when we noticed one of the birds was so buy chasing away the other birds, while he chased one on the left of him, another would be taking the food from the right. He would then chase the bird on the right, while another came in from the left. All in all, he never got much food, his whole effort was to stop others taking the food near him. These birds were fed every morning and every late afternoon. Not one went hungry. Perhaps if he followed this procedure of chasing others every feed time, he probably did go without many times and so his fear of not getting enough became a reality for him.
An early night, an early breakfast had us on the road once more. As we drove on the scenery was lovely. With the scenery of green hills, blue sky and white fluffy clouds, it was a beautiful morning to be out for a drive. Then I notice a sign that said; To Pigeon House Mountain. It was still early and I suggested to my husband that we follow the sign to see where it would take us, and so we did.
Pigeon House Mountain was first named by Captain Cook in 1770 as Pigeon House Hill, because it reminded him of pigeon lofts in his native country, England. The Aboriginal name is Didhol, meaning Big Mountain.
The walk to the top of Pigeon House Mountain and return takes about 4 hours. First a steep climb, a track, another steep climb of 500 metres that takes you to the famous ladders. Some of the terrain dates back millions of years. The final part of the journey, the Pigeon House Mountain is reached by climbing a series of steel ladders attached to the cliff face.
We climbed the ladders and were rewarded with the most splendid view all around. There was even a stand with a book for visitors to sign, and although the book was full up, I left one of my business cards to show I had been there. Then, it was time to descend once more.
As I looked over the top, fear gripped my Gut. To go down those ladders, I would have to swing my leg into the air to grab the ladder rung with my foot, while holding on to a higher rung with my hands. My whole body could sense the danger.
What if I missed the rung? What if I fell down? There was no safety line to hold me if I should falter and lose my grip. I could feel the trembling, my body tensing, sweat on my face and neck. I couldn’t do it. I told my husband; “I can’t do this!” I am sure every gene and every cell in my body was shaking with fear. My heart was thumping in my ears. And yet, I knew that I couldn’t stay there.
My husband went before me with encouraging words that he was there to make sure I wouldn’t fall, but still the fear was overwhelming.
Yet I knew I had no option. I moved my hands to the top rung of the ladder, the sensation of fear rippling down my spine. My hands clung tight to the rung, I could see the whites of my knuckles, felt the shaking of the hands as I moved first one leg and then the other to place them on one of the rungs below.
One step at a time I climbed down first one ladder then two more, with the adrenalin working overtime, increasing my heart rate and feelings of flight-or-flight response cursing through my body.
Finally I reached the bottom. I had made it. I had survived. I felt so proud of myself. I felt elation at having kept it all together, by having made that journey despite this intense fear. I realised that one could feel fear and yet override it if one has to. I could now relate to the saying; ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway.’
Fear doesn’t have to be climbing a mountain. For some, it can be standing up and talking in front of a group of people, for others it can be getting back in a car after having experienced a motor vehicle accident.
Our body is meant to feel fear in certain circumstances. It is there to protect us and keep us safe from doing things that might harm us or save us from embarrassment.
In some cases, fear lingers on after an event when we are now safe. That being the case we need to seek help to release a fear that is no longer warranted. It took climbing Pigeon House Mountain to overcome my fear. We all have our own Pigeon House Mountain to climb inside ourselves. What is your Pigeon House Mountain?
“Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man’s training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly.”~Thomas H. Huxley, 1825-1895, Biologist