Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Falling is just floating at 125 mph

You cannot talk. You cannot hear anything but the rushing of a wind that does not cease. The lips of your mouth are peeled back to your ears. Your eyelids are glued to your forehead. The adrenaline courses through your entire body as you concentrate on keeping your hands and legs bent. They call it "good form."

You glimpse your altimeter ticking down, and pull the ripcord. Your body jerks from a horizontal position to a vertical one and all of you just stops. As you struggle to orient yourself, you realize your chute has deployed, and all the fear, all the adrenaline, all the caffeine your drank that morning comes rushing out of you in one big Indian war whoop. WHAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, you yell. 

The shortest part of your journey is done. Now you have a 10 minute ride to the ground. Like a tourist you eagerly look around and snap mental pictures of the sites. A river snaking its way through green trees that look like blades of grass. A city on the horizon. Multicolored chutes from earlier jumpers. As you near the landing zone you realize that the ground is approaching fast. Anxious to avoid any broken bones, you wait till the last second, pull on the harnesses of your parachute and lift your feet up. You slide in for a landing, and the parachute covers you like a blanket.

You will not be able to stop smiling for days. You will try to describe the experience to others. In the end, you will just settle on the term "floating." It doesn't make any sense, but somehow at 1400 feet you felt at peace. Like you were floating amidst the clouds.