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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Skydive!

My brother, Michael, and I decided to embark on an adventure together. We made plans to skydive on the Fourth of July, celebrating our spirit of independence.

The course at Perris Valley Skydiving School was an all day venture, preparing us for one static line jump. The class involved a full day of training, where we learned how to get out of the plane properly, toggle right and left, pull the reserve chute open if we had to, and land safely.

When it came time to gear up, I chose a bold red one-piece jumpsuit that zipped up the front and fit perfectly, along with a white helmet. We went up, 3 at a time, 3,000 feet high, in a tiny Cessna that was missing a door.

The thoughts that raced through my mind, in the back of the noisy plane, were of things left to do in my life, if onlys and what ifs. Like, did I tell my family and friends how much I loved them, and lists of things I wanted to accomplish before leaving this planet. But, by the time I scooted forward & knelt in the open doorframe, I was committed to accepting my fate. I wasn’t actually jumping. I was releasing. Letting go. Into the sky. Into the vast open space. Into all that is. Into the Universe.

The instructor was right next to me, making sure that my static line was attached, and that I made my way out of the plane safely. I reached for the bar under the wing, shimmied myself out, and held on securely until he yelled, “Skydive!” Then, I let go.

My parachute opened almost instantly. I breathed in deeply, resting in the whooshing sound of the air, and the peacefulness of the infinite sky. The earth was far below and its beauty was breathtaking. I was floating, gliding, falling, suspended in time. It only lasted a few minutes, but it felt like forever.

I can see why skydiving is addicting, because once you're on the ground, you want to be up in the air again, like a bird, flying free.

What a rush! What a joyous, emotional, rush mixed with fear, overcoming my fear, letting go, releasing from holding on, being out of control, silence like I’ve never known before, utter relief upon landing safely, and the pure exhilaration at having accomplished something so daring.

I have to skydive again!

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