The inside of the plane was cool. Very old with handles and bars that moved up and down in front of me like on old roller coasters when they click the bar in front of you. The seatbelt was ancient and solid and needed me to spin the big metal dial to unlock it. The noise was intense and beautiful in my head, getting me all rattled inside as we made out way into the sky. The pilot is co-owner of the company and said he bought their two planes about 15 years ago and started things up. They do about 12-14 drops a day and with the constant sun and almost non-existent rain they can keep it up and running year round. People from Britian were there in full effect taking in the sun with their shirts off between drops. Badass subculture to say the least.
I loved watching the altitude dial spin, 3000, 5000, 8000 feet. Each time I looked over I wanted to cry and eventually did shed a little wetness behind my sunglasses. I was just so happy to be above the ground in this precise fashion.
This is the pilot Carl. I really appreciate his letting me come up and observe. Life really is all about perspective and this one set me up for....I don't know how long,....but I am still feeling the after effects. We all need new vantage points and whether it be stuck in traffic or flying out the door of an airplane, it's all useful to appreciate. Life is short.
Here's the bunch of badasses I got to film jumping into the huge open atmosphere. The chutes are beautiful when they open but I think it's that inital moment when you surrender and jump into the ether that makes this sport as relentlessly cool as it is. What is going on in your body when you first let go and fly? What does that feel like? There is no doubt about it, you are flying and that must on one level make you feel more powerful and free than you ever have felt but clearly more vulnerable than usual. That fight or flight thing is in overdrive and hopefully you are sharply focused on what your next steps need to be to avoid death. The relief and sense of pride as you float and direct yourself safely to the ground after the chute opens must really allow you to swim in relentless bursting happiness while coming back to earth. I watched several groups land while there. They come in fast and do such cool shit as they glide back to the ground.
I knew after the last group jumped out, that I too was going to have to make a plan, save up and experience this more directly in the coming year....hopefully in 2010. As much as I wanted to dwell in this now empty, loud, windy space behind the cockpit that once had folks just like me filling the seats, I couldn't. Carl maneuvered the plane and took a sharp nosedive down,which definately got my attention. I focused on what was going inside me and was filled with a calm, surprised at how happy I was as my tried to adjust and gain equilibrium. The mounting physical sensations got me shedding tears....let's call them thrill tears. A type of gentle release (from a non so gentle scenerio!!) I had not experienced before. I felt like I could do anything. I guess that sums up the attraction. While it is dangerous and quite ridiculous, it really allows a most perfect vantage point of our lives down here. Again, perspective.