Tuesday, August 2, 2016


image borrowed from dailymail.co.uk


“I guess most of us has a bird urge when they look down
heights, a desire to jump, without wings or buoyant sail.”
--Kari Amruta Patil.

For much of my life, I have been OK with heights--
    even though I must say I was intrigued, looking 
          over the edge of high buildings, cliffs, and bridges,
               when I would feel an intense desire to leap off, just
          for the fun, the excitement, a sort of avian madness.
    I also noticed that my feet would tingle strongly
at such times--
                               but I was never comfortable in high places,
                          was aways envious of those among us with a
                     head for heights--Mohawk Indian steeplejacks,
                                                 mountain climbers,
                                                 hot air balloonists,
                                                 wind turbine repairmen,
                                                 wing walkers & pilots,
                                                 tightrope & trapeze performers,
                                                 bridge painters, and
                                                 skyscraper window washers.

About three decades ago I began to develop weak knees & 
ankles, experiencing poor balance issues; about the same
time that I quit having flying dreams--you know, where
one just leaps into the air, stretches out their arms &
begins flying, soaring over the trees & buildings. I
certainly was sad to lose that aspect of dreamscape.

Soon after that I began having bouts with vertigo whenever 
just glanced at things near high places. If I’m driving, I
have to shift my focus to the road directly in front of me. If
I’m walking, it nearly stops me in my tracks. I once tried to
walk across a deserted railroad bridge. You could look down
hundreds of feet between the tracks. Thirty feet onto it, I felt
suddenly paralyzed, & had to crawl back to safety.

I’m told that this is my body compensating for my 
proprioceptive dysfunction, that presently I am now a part of
the 2% of the population with Acrophobia--just driving over
the Tacoma Narrows bridges makes me grit my teeth.

Though my fear of heights
is not extreme, it really
can be quite bothersome.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub



Mish said...

My father in law suffers from vertigo and yet will not give up riding his motorcycle at 79. I can imagine the frustration of it, especially in every day things like driving. My claustrophobia has intensified in the last few years which I find not only annoying and frightening, but also intriguing. Thanks for sharing, Glenn.

Kate Mia said...

As mentioned oft
to date.. and now
heights and loud noises
are the only inborn human
feara.. but sure that is normal..
and there are exception that exceed
all other preconceived notions from the norm..
as truly at one point
i was afraid
of colors..
the stARt i suppose
of Trigeminal Neuralgia
or the
oF mY SouL..
oh as they say
Horatio.. this world..
this reaLiTy.. is stranger
than any fiction in what
any one individual can ride
or Heaven
too.. thanks God..
for the fearless place..
but sure.. i don't do heights
i like
to live
i'LL keep
iT that way
as lOnG as humanly
and humanely possible..:)

Grace said...

How terrible for you Glenn. I can't imagine how difficult it is with the vertigo and poor balance issues. I agree, it can be quite bothersome.

Gayle Walters Rose said...

I really feel for you, Glenn. Just today I had a fleeting but powerful feeling of vertigo...thank goodness for the fleeting part.

Kim M. Russell said...

Oh no, vertigo! My husband is a six foot five scaffolder and was never afraid of heights until he had a bout of vertigo. He also has knee problems. I feel for you, Glenn. Stay sitting down, writing your marvellous poems!

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Oh gosh vertigo :( I can't even imagine what you must go through. Beautiful poem though.

Marilyn B said...

We'll hope that the Tacoma Narrows bridge doesn't start "galloping" about again!

Raivenne said...

A general fear of heights combined with vertigo is a deadly combination indeed. As I told Grace in here write - it's not the height that scares us - it's the falling from it that does. For someone with vertigo, that fear must increase exponentially. Excellent write, Glenn.

p.s. said...

I most enjoyed your line breaks.

Anonymous said...

I've learned something new today, Glenn. Acrophobia! And vertigo - ouch!

Brian Miller said...

you know, it is my imagination that betrays me,
all i can think of on those heights is that something
that might make boys fall and i being unable to catch
them - or keep them safe.

sorry you are facing these challenges later in life, my friend.
we all are in our own ways. smiles.

Wordifull Melanie said...

I've had a fear of heights since an unfortunate childhood experience... so I don't relate to wanting to peer over or dive off BUT i feel for you. That you did and now don't... that you can no longer have that joy, that tingle of excitement.

Mark Walters said...

I've had some issues with dizziness, it's tricky sometimes to work on ladders. I don't want to experience the feeling of flying off the top of some high place. Your poem makes me thankful I don't feel need to go higher

Rosemarie Gonzales said...

oh this fear is really bothersome. but you told it beautifully! :)