He Walked to the Edge of Cold Shivers, and Took Another Step

Tim Sewell walked to the edge of a 1000-foot or so precipice on July 3rd and kept on walking.  This is not a happy nor upbeat, insightful ‘there’s still hope for the universe’ post.  And, thankfully, no photos.

It’s possible I could find a photo with Tim in it, back when we were on the same hockey team.

I read the local newspaper a few times a week, and on or just after July 4th noted in the police reports that deputies were called out to help retrieve a body of someone who had either fallen or deliberately jumped from the Cold Shivers Overlook in the Colorado National Monument.

“Heck,” I thought.  “That’d do it.  No gray area there.”  If someone wanted to check out of this life with a guaranteed 100% chance of success, Cold Shivers would be highly recommended.

It’s about a 1,000 feet from the fenced-off abrupt cliff face to the valley floor.  I’ve thought how someone could race a bicycle down Glade Park Road and aim between the rock-&-mortar columns along the road just above this overlook.  Too bad for the bike.

Then … in the following Sunday edition of our local paper a sports columnist writes about Tim Sewell, battling who-knows-what personal demons, and putting a face and name on the anonymous jumper of July 3rd.

Definitely not whom you’d think would do such a thing.

Mr. Sewell was a young 47 — leaving his wife and two (teen-aged, I think) daughters.  And a seemingly successful career as a financial counselor.  Handsome dude, too.

I met him three or four years back while playing in our local ice-hockey league.  He was definitely NOT of ‘novice’ caliber.  Somehow, he ended up on the same team as I, and after that season was strongly encouraged to play in the upper leagues.  Guys would talk about the former fighter pilot, and those who raced bikes held him in awe.  He was a Colorado state road-racing champion for his age group.

One day I was driving through downtown and I saw a guy who looked like him standing on a corner.  He wore a nice suit, briefcase in hand, waiting to cross the street.  Later, in the locker room I joked that I saw a guy who looked a lot like him dressed in a suit downtown.

He briefly fixed me with a gaze and said “Sometimes when I see that guy, I don’t recognize him either.”  I think he meant seeing himself in the mirror.  In retrospect, this utterance could seem significant.  But, it was what it was, locker-room banter.

Still …  we will probably never know what prompted his abrupt departure.  Whatever certainties I gain in this life are, too frequently, eroded by the mysteries.  If there is a lesson to be learned, I should slow down (even further) and try to keep all options open.  Nothing profound — perhaps something will come — of it’s own accord. 

That’s it for now.  Tim, I hardly knew you.

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