Assumptions about Flying

Assumptions are like a snake. They slide past often absorbing the attention but not stealing the life of the bystander. However sometimes they bite with such a sting that you will never forget how you felt. I do not claim that this actually happened, but just because it didn’t happen does it follow that it is not true?

10:16 am.
Why is the plane flying away? I remember thinking. Twelve was way too many hours to be like this. It needs to come back. I believe I thought quite reasonably. Was it too much to ask? For it to reverse its flight path to help a fellow man? I didn’t think so, but then again I am not sure if I would be classified as being in a fit state to judge such matters like this.

Under some section C, subsection 12, sub-subsection 21b – I am sure it is somewhere in any case – it must have something along the lines of ‘imminent danger could lead to probable lack of rational thinking. Including, but not limited to assessing one’s own decision-making and what planes should or should not be doing. I didn’t think I was the one in danger. I admit abseiling solo, with no one nearby to offer assistance was not the smartest thing to do. But I believe firmly that extreme sports is the brother albeit more polite one of risk-taking. I knew where I stood the moment I moved my feet over the ledge, literally and mentally. But was I rational then? What is rational?

Obviously not questions for now. It doesn’t matter, I suppose. I survived, am surviving, and lived. As I said I didn’t think I was in any danger.

The only time anything seemed to indicate a change in this affair was when my rope snagged on the side and the grip through my special waterproof, mountaineer climbing gloves with cushioned pads, was not as strong as it could be. My brother, older in years but not in maturity, asked me to this abseiling skills test for him. He said it was for endurance study purposes but I knew better. It was so he could say to his girlfriend of 5 months that his brother was an amateur-professional, natural mountaineer successfully trained by himself. Idiot.

Oh well, maybe it worked. I am here. At the time now I think that I could not care less about this. I was concentrating. I remember looking at the bright sun overhead. In my mind I had plenty of time to go either down or up the cliff face. Plenty of time. Longer than an afternoon cuppa with an unkindness of reading club ladies, who were affectionately known as the ‘crowladies’. The only requirement of membership being that they can crow with the best of them. The first meeting was the best indicator of this. My darling Cecilie was one such lady, but she was one of the ‘lesser crowing flock’. That is why I loved her. She was beautiful because she could talk with the best of them. But at the same time she was doubly beautiful because she knew that there is a time for talking and a time for non-talking.

Looking towards the bright sun overhead, I was starting to feel tired. I remember I was tired, because it is then that I like looking at things that resemble beds. There was one such tree ‘hammock’ that looked quite comfy with its leaf foliage that I was admiring when something crossed my line of vision. It was one of the most beautiful things that I ever saw. It glided like an eagle, but was as colourful as a butterfly. It swirled in an array of blues, greens and reds… and purple! It dived and swooped and I was mesmerised for what was seemingly hours.

And it waved. Of course, my brain connected the dots eventually; ever in my semi-risky state was my brain working. Plane and waving person equals sky diver who jumped out of plane. I remember waving enthusiastically back at me as we locked eyes. My worry with the rope seemed so minuscule at the time with the wonder of this feat of flying above me. It reminded me very much of that movie with Christopher Reeve. Brilliant. Well, the skydiver definitely wasn’t a bird, nor a plane. It could very well have been a type of ‘superman’ I thought.

I didn’t not know that insanity ran in the family at this time, but when you are mesmerised anything and everything can go through your mind.

The person strapped to their harness still swooped and curved like a professional air-skater. They were also doing tumbles, rolls and all manner of things. Like a professional circus person who could do the same feats on the ground with the same grace. Like the circus performers they were still waving at me and at the plane too. I hope they get a good photo of him, I remember thinking. Skydiving was usually a friend or family type of entertainment. A true ‘kodiak’ moment is when flight can be a wondrous thing, and that joy is reflected on the face of the person experiencing it.

I was forgetting the rope altogether, so I clasped it to a rock and sat in my harness so that I could sit and watch this spectacle that for some reason I couldn’t tear my eyes away from. After a time the waving figure flew out of my sight past the gum trees. I could barely see over the ferns which were closest to me. The sight of it seemingly pulled sideways towards the ground was so vivid that someone it jogged my mind off the rope and my grip and I quickly dropped to the next ledge.

It is strange recalling it now. But once I touched the next rock “step” my mind went blank, so blank. I stepped out onto the next ledge to begin the next descent, when my eyes seemed to drag past the scenery in front of me. The river to my left as an ‘ever blue’ colour flowing above rocks, and the trees in front of me seemed to reach for kilometres and kilometres. It was so picturesque, and I looked eagerly for the “flying man”. Not a fan of heights myself, despite my amateur status, I looked down the cliff face to see the pretty parachute of the skydiver floating in the air.

I looked over, and at last I saw the beautiful colours. I looked, and lurched back. She or he, I never knew, was faced down on the grass among the trees not 100 metres away. Wearing a rainbow like outfit, they were sleeping on the grass. No parachute. Was she sleeping? No, not sleeping, I reflected closely observing the movement of the individual.

I still remember that cold chilled feeling that washed over me for so many hours afterwards. In my mind all I could think – even after the medics and helicopter and that plane came after finally reversing their course. It was so cold. I had three blankets on me and that terrible chill still reached my bones. All I could think of was that she wasn’t waving. She was falling.

Assumptions about Flying


Joined November 2007

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