Skydiving Diary

"You know, it's said that when a person reaches the limit of free fall, the trajectory of the fall is no different from a leaf floating down."


I was talking to a paratrooper friend I hadn't seen for a while after the jump and she told me this.



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Last year I wanted to go skydiving as a birthday present for myself, but it was put on hold by the sudden epidemic. When I finally found the opportunity to go after this year's unsealing, I was in a calm mood, without the excitement and rituals of a "feat" I was about to accomplish, and without any nervousness or fear. That's why I'm not scared.



I had heard that there were a lot of people at the skydiving centre and that you had to get in line very early or you could be waiting there for hours. So we arrived at 6.30am, but when we arrived there were already a few older men waiting, all brown-skinned, looking as if they were from India or Africa, with serious faces and few smiles when they spoke, gathered together in uniform, looking as if they were some kind of black power organisation group, and when they saw us arrive they came up and started queuing, and I vaguely heard my older brother say to my second brother. "Get in line, don't get cut in", and then they stood coldly at the front of the queue like a few walls.


Later, when I spoke to them about the order of the queue, they spoke in the same hard tone and were interrupted by my elder brother in the middle of their speech: "What are you doing?


But then I found out that they were a charity organisation in London and had come here to raise money for children in poor countries who don't have enough to eat. When I asked him why he didn't jump, he said he was too timid to do it.


He said he was too timid to jump.


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Their group was the first to jump, and those of us who were waiting watched from outside the fence by the lawn.


The plane roared to life, they got on board, waved at Big Brother, the plane took off, and in a moment of disorientation the plane became a tiny dot that required effort to identify to become a speck of dust on my lenses.


I thought: Oh my God, so it will fly so high and in a few minutes I will be on this one little dot, on this speck of dust, and what am I a speck of dust.


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In a few moments, with a cheer from those watching, a white grain of sand suddenly scattered lightly from that tiny grain of grey, then a white grain of sand drifted down, the falling grains of sand gradually grew larger and larger, connecting into a line of white ellipses unmistakable in the blue sky.


The nearest bit suddenly burst into bloom, bang with huge coloured petals, then drifted off into the distance, then every grain of dust bloomed out, colourful as they drifted across the blue sky, then gradually fell to the ground as if a jellyfish was breathing and dying in the ocean.


I suddenly had tears in my eyes and my heart was filled with emotion and awe. Life is truly small and great. So is the world.







It was our turn to go in and before we entered the door the big brother said to the people behind us in the queue, "These two Ladies were here first and are behind us in the queue, don't cut in". Still that hard tone of voice.


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At the training centre we were taught some simple positions to know for skydiving, like when the door of the plane opens and we are sitting at the hatch, we are high in the air in front of us and under our feet, at which point our legs are hooked back into the plane and our head is tilted back against the outer wall of the plane like a brace, then we wait for the free fall and give ourselves to the sky.


I always wondered why I wasn't scared at all. In the extremely noisy plane I was calmly looking out of the window at the fields, which were tilted, and one by one the waiting people in front of me disappeared through the hatch, as the instructor behind me and I started to move towards the hatch, still calmly, following the instructor's instructions to turn ourselves into a tiny bracket.





Then the moment came when I suddenly heard a tremendous wind noise, probably because the free fall was so fast I couldn't even see what was in front of me, there was an elongated blank before my eyes and the only thought in my head was: what is this thing? Why wasn't I scared? I should have been scared before!



Of course then I remembered that it was a free fall and I didn't think there would be any hindrance at all, just falling, head first.


It's a feeling you've never had before and can't express, you're like a stone thrown in the air and then you fall straight down, no one cares about you, there's nothing to hold you, you're nothing, you're surrounded by nothingness, you're not a player on a jumping machine in an amusement park with seats and speed to hold you, no, you're a stone, just a stone, a falling leaf, a jellyfish, you're nothing. It's not.


To the sky, you are nothing. But you have the sky to thank for it.





After a few seconds I got used to the freefall and the physical discomfort subsided. I looked around wide-eyed, not daring to blink, trying to strain to see the round earth, but unfortunately this time I didn't. I felt the instructor tap me on the shoulder and open the umbrella, I opened my arms and embraced the sky and the earth's, the world was really small, the cars on the ground and the trees on the side of the road looked like toys, so did I myself, everything was beautifully small and vast, the sky, the clouds, all beautiful and moving.





I unconsciously said that the world was a beautiful place. The coach did not respond to me, perhaps my words drifted away in the wind and were given to the sky, perhaps he had heard too many people say it and had long since become accustomed to it.





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