May 25, 2011

Skydiving - My First Jump

I watched them jump out of the plane. One by one little patches of color lit up the sky. New friends, new adventuresome spirits that I had just met, drifting towards my patch of earth. And then, it was my turn. The small plane landed and I pushed through the wind of the propellers to crawl up into a tiny piece of aircraft. A few words, the tightening of straps, the rustling of metal, and then, silence. A leveling of the plane. A wave of the hand. Scooching forward as the plane emptied out, one by one in front of me, the bench cleared. All leading up to that moment, that split second when I looked down at earth, turning slowly 15,000 feet beneath me, and then...a jump. No thoughts. No hesitation. Just...jump.
Adrenaline twirled as we summer saulted and fell towards the Floridian coastline. Sky and earth blended together, air was in short supply, and all I could do was laugh as we flew. Then somehow my feet were facing earth and my eyes were heaven bound, and I felt the sudden jerk of a parachute slipping out of its bag and the free fall was over. Now, now it was time to fly. To twirl back and forth and spiral down, to watch the cars and waves beneath us. To see the place where shuttles launch into the sky, where astronauts fly through the same space of air, and to catch a glimpse of my world from a perspective that I've never seen it before.
I've taken off in airplanes a hundred times, more probably, I've felt the thrill of the wheels lifting off the ground and the cabin pressure changing, I've seen the sky and flown through clouds...but I've never soared through the atmosphere with nothing between me and the sky.  I've never jumped into the blue, stepping outside of my box and into a sky that only birds frequent. 
Soaring over earth, feeling wind press against my face until I could barely breath, separated from the noises of everyday life, just floating...it was a moment I could live again and again and again. Free falling. Adrenaline. A new perspective on searching for adventure. There was no reason to jump. Nobody was holding a gun to my head telling me to step into the sky. There was no big crowd to applaud my descent. So why did I jump? What is it that pushes me off the edge of safety searching for that thrill?
Life, life in all it's multicolored glory, isn't full for me unless it crosses a line of adventure. I'm constantly seeking the next challenge. The hunger for adrenaline is ingrained inside my heart, the thirst for something bigger than normal. I chase thrills. I chase dreams. I chase clouds. Falling from the sky I felt the same twist of the stomach that attracts me to the ocean, the feeling of being small, the feeling of being surrounded by something so much bigger than anything else I know. Mankind is put into perspective, troubles shrink back to their normal size, and earth, earth turns regardless of what you say or do. Yesterday, as I fell through the sky on the streets of eagles, I felt like a tiny dot in the landscape of this earth. A name attached to the smallest patch of polyester fabric floating through the sky.
There's something about taking a leap of faith, something about falling out of the sky and landing safely back to the ground, that gives me the feeling that I can do the impossible. I can fly. I can land. I can chase clouds into the blue and make it back to earth. There'll be no going back to normal now...not when there are more planes to jump out of and more adventures to chase. :)