Monday, September 27, 2010
Free falling is anything but free
In 2002 I was determined to go skydiving out of a plane. It was a late summer, or early fall, day in Snohomish, WA. I successfully gathered a crew of co-workers and friends at the time and orchestrated a trip I was determined would be life changing. I had been thinking about jumping for a long time, ever since my first love and high school girlfriend had told me of her tandem jump soon after our final break up some years earlier. It seemed to one-up me. Not only was she moving on to a new boyfriend back in CA while I was miserable in cold and rainy southern Oregon, but she was also pushing the envelope and expanding her horizons. She was the brave one. Here it was years later and I was determined to even the score.
There is a feeling of complete emptiness as I fell from the sky. It was not life flashing before my eyes so much as my face getting pulled back by the g-force of me falling into the earth. My head cleared as I dropped. There was no time to think, just be, just fall. In the air there is nothing holding you up, there is nothing to hold on to. There is no balance. You fall, and fall, and fall...and then when you feel like you can continue falling forever the chord is pulled and you stop falling. Your heart is pounding so hard in your chest and your smile from the rush so intense that the world you peer down upon does look different. Your eyes see things differently. The colors more vivid. The air crisper, more invigorating. What I carried into that plane and into the sky now gone, replaced with gratitude, amazement, and wonder. Those were the same feelings I had climbing the summit at Havasupai.