This picture was taken with my friend’s point and shoot a couple of months back. It was raining that morning and I left my camera back at the hotel. The clouds cleared by the time we reached the Bay Area. Lady Weather is so fickle.
Since the time of Icarus man has always wanted to soar like the birds. Thanks to the Wright brothers and countless more before and after them, we have come a long way. I, too, have had my fair share of opportunities to soar through the sky at speeds the birds can only dream of; albeit in huge metal cages. The thrill of flying, thus, has always eluded me. Never have I felt the full force of the wind against my face. Nor have I been able to pilot those beasts.
Considering the expense the latter might remain a dream. For the former, there is the next best thing. Not the metaphorical next best thing. I have never been down that road. Instead, it is time I took a leap of faith.
23rd July 2011 - Long Island, NY
And, a leap of faith it indeed was. Faith in the harness that strapped me onto the instructor; faith in the parachute and its deployment; faith in the altimeter; faith in the instructor and his skill in ensuring safe descent; faith in myself to follow the instructions to the letter without overdoing it; and, faith that the plane’s engine would not fail on our journey up.
In any case, uneventful descent or not, anyone who is crazy enough to jump off a plane at an altitude of 12000 feet, does so by looking Death in his eyes. At such proximity Death purges one’s past and future. Nothing else matters; just the present moment with the wind gushing against your face, your cheeks flapping about. That feeling, the one you enjoy as you fall towards the ground at terminal velocity, is indescribable. At the risk of sounding trite one may use the phrase “eternal bliss”.
However, words won’t do justice to this moment of truth. To know, one must take a leap of faith.