Every New Year’s Eve Boyfriend and I go to Catalina Island to celebrate an old year – heavy with disappointment and achievement – and to welcome a new year that is as light and empty as a bubble.  We go to the Casino for the buffet dinner, always too embarrassed to go for seconds,

Deco Dinner

to dance, drink and to chase the rogue balloons that fall from the ceiling at midnight.  We make merry  with the other partygoers whom are foolish enough to welcome the passage of time.

Ring In The New

With the recent rains, we hope to see a green, lush island.  We will take the tour through the hills and trees and hopefully see the buffalo standing in the road, staring the bus down with their brown, bovine eyes, steadily chewing the new grass.  Maybe we’ll see mule deer, and quail and the one or two bald eagle couples living on the island.

Boyfriend, of course, will surf.

We will do what we usually do when we visit the island, with the exception of one thing.  This year, Catalina has installed its own Zip Line.  I have never been on a zip line, and for a very good reason.  It’s called Fear, and like many people I prefer to avoid it.  However.  We have purchased our tickets and we will go. 

This line consists of five runs – one which will drop from 500 to 60 feet above sea level, with a length of 1,100 lineal feet.  Speed will approach 45 miles per hour.  Five runs – five stations.  At each station you will be unhitched then re-harnessed before you continue – still screaming – on your next run.  You will also be given a presentation on some ‘interesting aspects of Catalina Island History’ while those requiring the ministrations of a psychiatrist will be tended to.

I’ve read over the fact sheet and have noticed the small print:  ‘And for those who have submitted their soul to the Baby Jesus while on our run, you may pick up your free Bible on your way out.  For those who have begun to speak in tongues, we have the Latin Vulgate Bible available for a nominal free.’

So, yes, I’m afraid of this thing.  But I’m going because, frankly, I don’t think that fear is enough.  In a way, I need more proof.  

The new year affects me the same way.  Is fear of the unknown enough to suspend all anticipation and hope?  Or do we need more?  Shall we spit in the face of the new year’s nameless fears until they become solid and known:  then run like hell…if we decide to?

Happy New Year…and here’s to its New Fear!


17 responses to “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Don’t

  1. What a wonderful way to ring in the new year! I love the idea of doing the same thing every year, but also doing something new and confronting your fear. Way to show 2011 who is boss.
    We will be ringing in the new year by getting ready to move down your way. We’ll be northwest of LA at the end of February. Please tell me it’s lovely. I am having a hard time with the idea of leaving San Francisco.
    Hope you are well and I look forward to getting caught up on your blog. Happy new year!

  2. I say run the zip line of the new year and kick those fears in the teeth as you fly to the finish. 🙂

    Have a wonderful time, Aubrey! I cheer for you!

  3. I think ziplining looks like a lot of fun, but since it does start with pushing yourself off a tall platform, I would be kind of chickeny about it, too. But so envious, that I think I would have to find the courage.

    Happy 2011 to you, Aubrey, and kudos for your positive attitude!

  4. Sounds like fun! It will be good to face (and hopefully conquer) your fear to ring in the new year. I hope 2011 is a happy and healthy one for you and your loved ones Aubrey!

  5. Your post reminds me of a question a therapist asked me some years ago: “If you could foresee the future, and you knew you were going to die at a certain time on a certain day, would you sit at home, cringing in fear? Or would you try to live each day you have to its fullest, and appreciate every good thing you have in your life?”

    I don’t know if I would voluntarily ride a zipline, but it always looks fun and I guess I won’t know otherwise unless I tried. I’m glad you’re going for it!

    • That’s one of those questions that sounds profound but is stupid when you think about it. Of course you’d go out and do all sorts of wild things! “Skydiving, sure — I’m not due to kick it for another 27 years, 2 months, and 6 days!” “Hmm, tomorrow’s the day, time to hire that hooker and smoke some crack.”

      • Lol! I like your attitude! 🙂

      • Back then I was going through a period where I was too frightened to do anything: my husband had just died and it was just sinking in that I was going to have to raise three kids alone, with little or help from my family. Riding a zipline would have been out of the question: I had to force myself to leave the house just to buy groceries. If you start thinking too hard about how easily your life can fall apart and you have no confidence in yourself and others, then the world looks terrifying.

        Ironically, I also was a pack-and-a-half smoker back then. I guess I wasn’t afraid of cancer.

  6. I remember that Little Miao was very skeptical of going on a zipline a while back and then she really liked it. So you may not need the Bible, or at least not the Latin one.

  7. I ziplined in Mexico…. and it was really fun and felt very safe! I used to have an awful fear of heights…sometimes still do….but it’s often a “mind over matter” thing.

    I used to ride in elevators with my eyes shut and my face all scrunched up in fear. Then I thought how stupid that was. If the elevator fell, it was going to make NO difference whatsoever how I held my face. So I made myself consciously relax my face and just stand normally and the fear of elevators disappeared completely. It was a nice revelation.

  8. A run on the Zip Line – now there’s a way to send the old year out with a bang! Err, whoosh? A post on it is of course forthcoming. 🙂 BTW, “We make merry with the other partygoers whom are foolish enough to welcome the passage of time.” — It’s who; whom is the object form.

  9. Yay!! Being able to do the Catalina Zip Line is on my list of reasons for having lap band surgery!

    Maybe if I’m thin by next year, you can teach me to zip and I’ll teach you how to go for 2nds. And 3rds!!

  10. I ziplined in Costa Rica and lived to tell the tale! You will do it and enjoy it! Or at least shake from head to toe with adrenaline. Either way, your heart will be racing and your lungs working. It’s a good way to go into 2011 with everything you have! Enjoy!

  11. What stunning views you’ll have from that zipline. Happy New Year!

  12. There is always such a flow, peace and calm to your writing. Beautiful, So too are your images and photographs, beautiful.

    Happy year to you, dear friend.

  13. A – You must tell every detail of that zip line run. I am so curious, ponder it every time I write a travel article that includes it. You MUST tell!
    As for the New Year, let’s stand and deliver! It will rock in its way and we’ll roll with it or rise above it. Ready? Go!

  14. I am fascinated about the zip line run….. Happy New Year Aubrey; I hope 2011 is a great year.

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