Monday, September 19, 2005
I Can Fly!!!
It is early. The sun has not yet risen but I cannot sleep. I am too excited, because, yesterday I rode the sunset!! I FLEW and it was amazing. To even describe it in writing seems an injustice and I find myself grappling for the words.
Amazing. Incredible. Beautiful. A Dream come true.
I was in the clouds and God was with me. God and my wild angel, Jonny. Soaring, barreling through the sky and being held by the clouds all at the same moment. I never felt like I was falling or feared that I would hit the ground. I was being held up—protected—cared for. It felt out of control and so safe all mixed up together. Terror. Delight. Pure joy. I don’t think I could sustain a belly laugh at 10,000 feet but it was there. Awe. Gratitude. Worship.
The colors were brilliant and yet I can’t remember them even while I see them in my mind. Mt. Hood. St. Helen’s. Adams and Rainier. I was higher than them all. The valleys in their patchwork quilt glory. The feathering clouds reminding me of a Kino sunset. It was my time. My time to fly.
The plane was so tiny it seemed like a toy. The pilot looked about 12 but Jonny assured me he was at least 19 and an excellent pilot. Handsome Mickey was our cameraman. Dressed in his black and white bat suit, he would exit the tiny plane first.
Strapped tighter to Jonny than is probably legal in some states, I knew that he wasn’t going anywhere without me and his foot was stepping onto the tiniest “platform” I had ever seen. Before I knew it, my foot was next to his. The most difficult moment came when my second foot needed to exit and I was to turn my body forward. My body stalled for a second and once again I realized Jonny was going out the door and we were connected. The word “surrender” came to mind (passed onto me by a wise, previous jumper named Jennifer) and then we were free of the plane—“bending like bananas.”
Bombing through the air. It was undoubtedly the most exhilarating sensation I have ever experienced. I can’t even remember having my eyes open. They must have been, however, because there was Mickey filming my free fall. We jumped at 10,000 feet and freefell to 5000—approximately 40 intense seconds.
The cool air. The wind rushing—roaring. I keep coming back to the fact I felt ‘held’. Some people experience it as a buoyancy—for me it was a sense of safety and security in the midst of this incredible speed.
Before I went, my counselor, Kay, described skydiving as a metaphor for my life—“one big freefall.” It feels like an even more appropriate metaphor now, because that is what is happening. I am being held and have a sense of safety and security in the midst of this warp speed, crazy, beautiful life that is mine. Thank you, Lord.
And—I’ve only described the exit and freefall. Wow! Then the canopy opened and we were floating. Calm. Still. Beautiful silence.
“Take off your goggles,” Jonny said “and just chill. Relax.” Then, “you want to spin?” and we were turning around to see the countryside and evidently doing flips too. Yikes! Yea! What fun!!!!
All I could say was “oh” over and over again. It was kind of like sex in a crazy sort of way. Awe and worship. Beauty and feeling beyond description. Gratitude. Gratitude for being alive—for God’s creation—for being brave enough to live a dream and being brave enough to simply live my life to the fullest.
I am grateful for my brother, Dave who heard my dream and helped make it happen. I am grateful for my wonderful husband, Bill who recorded the event and supported me along the way. I am also grateful for my beautiful daughter, Janey and her friend Hannah who thought I was a little crazy at the beginning of the day but by the end wanted to be 18 so they could go for a ride too.
I also carried with me all of my wonderful friends who continue to soar through this life with me. I love you all. I am so blessed and for the moment I am out of words. But never fear…
Upon further reflection, I realized I forgot to mention the landing. It reminds me of being in flight and not wanting that to end either. “It’s too short,” I said to Jonny as we were nearing the landing field.
“Knees bent. Toes up. Here we go,” Jonny said. “We’re going to land standing up.” The next thing I knew, we hit the ground and my guardian angel tumbled over my back. We had not in fact landed standing nor had we scooted in on our butts—the norm for tandem landing.
“Are you all right?” What an understatement! I was fabulous!!! I had just completed the ride of my life. Beautiful. Amazing. Terrifying. Wonderful. And the metaphor continues….
photos by bill hughlett