Sheer rock walls stretched up into the cloudless blue sky of northern Spain. The huge crack in the earth winded through the tree littered hills of Asturias. From a plane, the cannon would look exactly like spaghetti spilled over the hills. One large, white van drove along the road in the shady abyss. Even though the ‘road’ had two lanes, cars could barely pass without nicking the walls.
The van stopped. Justin and Nathan jumped out of the car bursting with energy. They stumbled down some loose stones to dip their feet in a refreshing stream. The water rippled over stones, making short lived shapes of white and green. Rolling up his pants, Justin waded across the stream. Nathan and their father fallowed.
Next to the stream a huge window in the side of the rock wall opened up. Through the window one could see a hill crowded with bushes and long grass stretching up. Huge gray mountains loomed over the top of the hill.
Breathing in all the glory of the mountains ahead of him, Justin clung to the roots of grass, steadily getting closer to his goal. Nathan and Dad caught up with him just as he reached the top. The little trio panted and stared at the view. After living only three months in northern Spain, the view did not seem particularly beautiful. Just big rocks, lots of trees, some streams flowing down hills and through valleys and a couple tiny towns thrown all over the landscape carelessly.
After a moments silent viewing, Justin’s father turned around and started down the slope. Justin and Nathan lingered for a second more, and then jogged to catch up. Soon they stood on a strip of moss over a smooth, water made gully sliding down to the bottom of the hill. Every drop of water had been sucked up by the sun.
The gully was smooth as this clever simile.
“Lets climb down that way, it would be shorter.” Dad suggested.
Justin turned his head. “It would also be harder.”
Dad nodded, and then screamed.
The moss underneath his feet had come loose. Justin jumped back. “Dad!”
sliding, Dad tried to grind to a stop with his elbows and knees.
But it was no use.
He gained speed as he went down the rickety slide. Groping at some grass somehow springing out of solid rock, friction finally checked his speed. He lay there motionless.
Nathan carefully stepped closer to the edge. “Dad?” He whispered under his breath. “Are you OK?”
Justin couldn’t breath. His heart pounded as fast as a humming birds.
Groaning, Dad lifted his body to its sore knees. “I’m fine.” He groaned. But at the same time as the words came out of his mouth, Justin noticed that the bottom of Dad’s shirt slowly turned red. The same red liquid dripped from his elbows. Flies immediately began to gather.
Justin and Nathan stood half stunned, staring down into the miniature cannon.
Dad observed his situation. There was no way out… Or so it seemed. By climbing up one side of the smooth walls, he was able to find hand holds in a precipice hanging five meters over his sons.
“Lets pray.” Justin suggested.
“Maybe you should go back! It doesn’t look like you down from there!” Nathan shouted.
After one last attempt, Dad fallowed Nathans advise. Once he was back into the horrible slide, he looked around again.
Then Justin had and idea. “I’ll pass you a branch! K?”
Dad nodded. Picking up a dead branch, Justin laid down on his belly and passed the long branch down. Dad took it, and then started to walk up the steep incline.
The climb down reflected the complete opposite of the climb up. The beauty had faded from their eyes like morning mists. A fearful respect for the dangers of the wilderness lodged deep in their hearts in replacement. Kids think they are indestructible, but many times life as they know it can end in a single step.
300 steps later, they reached the road. Nathan had scratched legs. Thorn-bushes had taken their toll on him. Dad had a bloody stomach and bloody elbows, knees, and hands. After washing off in a stream, they went home to clean their cuts and bruises.
This experience showed me that you have to be ready for death. What if you died today? Would you be ready? So what do you do, if life could end with one wrong step? The answer is plain; live every day with love and forgivness. Don’t let the sun set while you still hold any anger in your heart.