Forth

Thrill seekers, some call us. Others call us reckless. Some think we're meddlesome kids writing graffiti. We're not.

We're explorers. Like Columbus or Magellan, we branch out across our world hoping to find something - hoping to find anything. We pull back brambles, lift barbed wire, jump fences - we climb hand over hand, one foot after the other.

Tonight, we climb the bridge. The three of us, packs filled with coffee and sandwiches, set out to touch the sky.

We've done it before, just in a different place. Hand over hand, one foot after the other. We're careful, watching each other as we ascend the steelwork. Once you're over the first major hurdle, it's usually easy going; there's a ladder here or there, safety walkways, all the stuff maintenance crews need to do their jobs.

Over the protective beams and above the pedestrian level, we find a ladder with rebar rungs. We ascend, hand over hand, one foot after the other. It's easy going and the slight breeze over the water helps push us up.

The wind picks up, pushing the boggy, wet smell of an urban river up our noses. Old rungs leave rust stains on our hands; we don't mind. 

Everyone sees the pictures afterwards. They call us crazy. That's because they don't understand. It's clear up there. Above the clamor and the bustle of the day all you hear is silence. The all-encompassing silence. Then you exhale and the world hears it, the world accepts it.

It sounds crazy. It is crazy. But if you saw the twinkle of lights, if you heard the wind talk to you, if you stood hand in hand with the only people who understood you and you stood out, conqueror of the world, defiant against the wind and the world, you would know. You would understand that this intense, fiery passion to be above it, to watch the parade of toy cars and stick figures move in lock step to music you don't hear, was worth it. That it all was worth it. 

Every time we climb I never want to come down. That night on top of that bridge with a lungs full of free, clear air, we didn't come down, not for a very long time. But we do reluctantly climb down and when dawn breaks we rejoin the bustle of the city. 

We promise ourselves that we will climb out of it all hand over hand, one foot after the other.