the debt mounts, it costs to be alive

sometime in july, 2011

i braced myself for some sort of fear, but nothing came. excitement and joy formed the edges of a deep calm. i gave one last grinning farewell to my mom, and climbed up into the small plane. the excitement branched out like something alive, and i barely felt like myself. i talked to a faceless man, another first-time skydiver who could have been anyone in my distracted state, and then we got quiet as the plane took off. my mood lifted with it, until i felt ecstatic. at about 12,500 feet, we arrived at the drop-zone. with some last strapping onto instructor tim, i half-slid, half crawled to the door of the plane, and, as if lunging forward at something intangible and amazing, i jumped out.

the free-fall existed as a confusing tumble for a few seconds. then we flipped the right way and at the correct angle, parallel to the ground. it didn’t feel like falling, instead it was as if we were simply floating and all the air in the sky passed us on its way up. it sounded deafeningly loud, this reverse waterfall of air. i laughed for what felt like forever with the adrenaline rush. a little more or less than a minute later, tim deployed the parachute and the rush of air passing us by jerked and stopped to what felt like a standstill.

suddenly it felt very quiet. as if my ears were stuffed with cotton, it sounded like a vast, empty nothing. the antithesis of free-fall. silent, still, and ever so serene. tim and i were able to make casual small-talk as he steered the parachute, cutting lazy, arcing tracks through the sky. i had the opportunity to look over what seemed to be a huge part of the world that only seemed to emphasize that there was so much more to see, just over the horizon. the ground stretched out below in a surreal, seemingly tiny, yet epically detailed display. mostly a patchwork of various shades of green fields and grey-brown roads: the model world below. we steered back toward the landing area for about five minutes, and we hit solid ground again.

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