NY Outdoors

Monday, January 26, 2009

Jumping out of a plane was the single most wild thing I had done in my life to date! I was afraid of heights & had just landed a great job in the city that required me working above people all day, handling steel, tools etc.. That's scary enough! Now, you had to walk on 2"- 6" beams while doing this & still have 1 or 2 hands to hold on. =( I was a little leary about heights having had a serious fall once before. Just one week before I received notification of the pending interview, I had seen a special on skydiving. I thought to myself.. geeesh, out of all the jobs I applied to, it would have to be the one I laughed about when I pictured myself doing it.

I realized I had to do something fast, I had to report for work in TWO weeks! Talk about vibrating nervous... My testosterone got the best of me and I arranged to take a short class on jumping. After a brief chat w/ a few select friends, we went ahead and took the ride upstate to go for it. I can't explain the feelings that I went through on that ride. It was a llllllllong one. As we took the class, when we weren't laying down face to the floor w/ our backs arched, we occasionally got to see other jumpers landing in various parts of the field.
The bright fluorescent colors of the chutes when fully opened were awesome, looked very enticing but my nerves were saying "NO, DON'T DO IT!"

I was still apprehensive but there was no turning back, nor a white flag above my head! I was determined to get over my fear of heights if it killed me. =)~ We took our 45 minute class, boarded the plane & just a few short minutes later we started to head down the runway & climb slowly in a circular upward spiral.. As I knelt there & observed the structural integrity of the small plane I noticed the friggin' plane was so cheaply constructed, shaky, vibrating, turbulent,. I can go on & on.. It was a small cessna double engine w/ two wings that looked like they belonged on a pigeon. I didn't think we would survive the climb to the desired altitude w/ this friggin' plane!!! =(

OH MY GOD :: this feeling came over me: I started to tremble, I felt my pulse quicken, my heart started to pound harder & harder as if it was going to break out of my rib cage.. I could both hear & feel the beat pulsating in my head as well as pumping blood through my body! My heart beat quickened, I thought to myself...


Not two seconds later the the plane leveled off. We all looked at each other w/ eyes opened wide.. all within a seemingly 6' sq. space on our knees.. As I scanned the facial expressions of the plane's occupants I realized that I was holding on to the guy's shirt in front of me & held onto his shoulder w/ such a white knuckled grip that he turned to me till we were eye to eye & motioned w/ his head towards my death grip I had on him, to let go. ( there was kneeling room only due to the minuscule size of the rattle trap we were about to jump out of ) so I did, and as I watched the color slowly return to my knuckles I saw his shirt from neck to shoulder start to slowly contract back to its somewhat shapely collared form.

" Oh,. sorry" I said w/ the biggest koolaid smile you ever saw! =)

After we both gained our composure from that episode the green light over the door goes on, a loud buzzer sounds BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT. We were at the proper altitude & preparing to jump. The guide slides the door open & all of a sudden the winds come in & take over the entire body of the plane & it blew so hard I couldn't hear myself think. My friend's guide asked if he was ready & my buddy reluctantly gave him the thumbs up while grinning at me. They slowly shimmied over on their knees to the opening while glancing back at us as. I watched them slowly lean out & leave the plane. The endorphins that were being produced by my body at that time could've killed a HORSE! To my right the next set of guys were slowly shimmying on their knees to this bottomless, blowing, loud, vacuum hole that was seemingly sucking my friends out one by one. The next jumpers gave each other and us the thumbs up, leaned out & were sucked down under the right wing of the airplane. They were gone.

My guide turned to me & gave me the thumbs up.. MY eyes opened wiiiiide, I mustered the strength to raise my shaking thumb to an upwards position & that was it I thought.. It was my turn.. I had to make a decision. I thought about backing out, I thought about my family, I thought about all the names I would be called if I didn't proceed. I also thought was this it? Was this the last time I would ever be on solid ground again? Before I could process a cohesive thought my guide slowly nudged me towards the opening of the plane by thrusting his legs forward into the back of my thigh. ( we were stuck together tandem style, him behind me ) & kept doing it till I moved forward. I slowly took my first knee step, then the second , then the third.

The wind was now nearing hurricane status! I was vibrating!! He put both of his hands on the side of the door, tapped me on the stomach w/ his right hand once (which meant get ready),. Then started to pull both of us out of the vortex which previously sucked 3 of my friends out, I resisted!!! He pulled on the sides of the door again, this time harder, jerking my body forward half way out into the eye of the hurricane & I though to myself, this guy is trying to KILL ME! I thought 'here we go,.. The next time he touches me on my stomach we're leaving the airplane'... Was it too late to back out? Yes, I released my grip from his forearm & gave him the thumbs up. He gave me that dreaded tap on the abdomen & threw our bodies forward into the abyss.

As I looked out across the horizon at the clouds, the clear blue sky & the beautifully arranged parcels of land I thought to myself, whomever created this was truly magnificent and had a great eye for art. I noticed each of the parcels of land were placed neatly side by side oneanother in various shades of green & yellow. I thought well, If I don't live after this jump at least I faced my fear like a man. Grrrrrrrr!

We were falling faster & faster, the wind was blowing between, passed & all around us. I was having a hard time breathing from the implosion of my lungs and nostrils due to being filled by wind simultaneously. I started to panic & flail my arms nervously. Then the training that I had taken an hour before came to mind. Keeping my head up looking out at the horizon & body arched in an ungodly position, the air was supposed to pass over my chin and face creating a wind tunnel so that I was able to breathe. It worked. I started to calm down because I was now getting oxygen to my lungs.

I was starting to enjoy the fall & all the surroundings. The clouds were a pretty shade of white & cotton shaped. The sun was blaring down upon the earth & my face while I could feel my cheeks rippling from the shear gusts of wind & gravitational pull of terminal velocity.

We were slowly approaching the ground. I knew it was going to be any minute that I would feel his tap to get ready for the deployment of the chute. I was free from all the laws that bind us to this earth. I felt I was now finally at peace in God's hands. If he wanted me at that time, he could have me.

I also realized that when a human being is feeling scared & afraid of the unknown, and we feel like nothing can go right or that we have no control over ourselves, our future & feeling we're at out worse, our senses & reaction time is heightened & we're actually at our best! The landing went as planned. It was the single most exciting day of my whole life. The rush of adrenaline, endorphins and serotonin was phenomenal!

I would do it again in a heart beat. I also live a much fuller life because of that experience & I do have to say one thing. If we don't do fun, spontaneous things in life, It will soon pass us by. Time waits for no man.
You have to use what Mother Nature gave you, before Father Time takes it away! Do something exciting, something a little edgy & out of your realm at least once in your life! It will make you a better person. =)

I was truly inspired that day.

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