"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Saturday, May 29, 2004
para-chute Function: noun
Etymology: French, from para- (as in parasol) + chute fall -- more at CHUTE
1 : a device for slowing the descent of a person or object through the air that consists of a usually hemispherical fabric canopy beneath which the person or object is suspended
2 : a device or structure suggestive of a parachute in form, use, or operation
3 : What I am really hoping I have firmly strapped to my back right now.
I have never jumped out of a plane in my entire life. At least not one that was actually flying at the time.
Vertigo, that feeling of falling, is something I really hate. I've hated it ever since I was a little boy and my father forced me to go on carnival rides at way too young an age.
So, to me, vertigo = bad, and out of control.
Free falling creates vertigo, of course, because you are in fact falling as fast as you can. That's what that instinct is in there for, to let you know that you are heading down far too fast, and nothing good could come of it.
The difference between just free falling and sky diving is that in a sky dive, you meant to do it and you expect to survive it.
Right now, I'm not sure if I am free falling or sky diving. it feels like free falling, since that whole out of control thing is here, but I am hoping so deeply that when the moment comes, I'll have a working parachute.
Everything in me feels like I am standing poised at the apex of a rollercoaster, about to take the plunge.
And you know, I really hate plunges.
I'm not a risk taker unless it is necessary. I would gladly parachute from a crashing plane, but would never do it from a perfectly good one.
I'm brave, but not reckless.
So, my life is in free fall. I've left the clouds far behind me and the ground is rushing up faster and faster. My stomach churns with fear as I deliberately take the rip cord and....
...well, we haven't gotten to that part of the story yet. And that's what makes this so darned uncomfortable. When the time comes, am I wearing a parachute or just a backpack?
Only one way to find out, and that's pulling the cord when the time is right.
Life changed after that jump...I'd suddenly stepped to the highest level of daring, a level above even that which airplane pilots could attain.
Charles Lindbergh (1902 - 1974), describing his first skydive