Jumped off a mountain last weekend.
Just want to confess that if judged by quantity of alcohol consumed, I’d had possibly one of my biggest nights ever the night before, crashing at Perrin’s at 4am for a fitful 4 hours of drunken, jeiger-interrupted sleep before being picked up by Johann at 8:30am. On a scale of 1 to peak-condition-to-jump-off-a-cliff-for-the-first-time, I was sitting on a solid 2. It’s a miracle I was standing vertically, let alone asking me to fly a glider in a specified direction.
It was a car full of blokes and me though, winding up a one-lane dirt road clinging to the edge of a mountain, so I kept my mouth shut for the sake of woman-kind’s reputation. I’m a self-appointed ambassador for the ‘Anything Boys Can Do, Girls Can Do Better’ brigade and moments like that are crucial to our cause.
Fred, who took me on the tandem last time we were here, is driving. He’s exactly what you always thought the hot young surfer every girl had a crush on in high school would grow up to be. Energetic and friendly but totally chilled in a big-cat-I-could-take-your-head-off-in-one-bite sort of way. Just the kind of guy you want around the first time you suspend yourself a few hundred metres in the air by a piece of plastic.
I just do what I’m told for the first few minutes without really thinking; run, run, run, brake slightly, sit, get comfortable, cross your legs. I check I’ve still got hold of the brakes and notice the glider above; massive, yellow and red the sun winking in and out behind it. I am dwarfed, just a tiny dot suspended under this magnificent wing. Wind rushes past my ears, the only indication of how fast I’m actually going and I take a moment to look around.
There’s a funny sense of ownership I get whenever looking at an incredible view. I feel like it’s mine, like I’m a part of it… in my mind, I’m sneaking through the tracks in the forest , finding a hidey-hole on the side of a cliff overlooking the beach or climbing a fence to get into the geometrically patterned field way behind the hill over there. Like when you look at a map at the beginning of a fantasy book. Who didn’t want to live in Neverland once you saw exactly how far away Hook’s Pirate Ship was to the Lost Boys’ Tavern…??
When paragliding, instead of looking at the map, you’ve fallen right into it. You’re above the house with the smoking chimney and can see their dogs lounging on the back porch. The geometrically shaped field is cabbages and there’s actually someone opening a gate to get in. A slight tilt of the head brings the horizon into view; rolling hills and hidden spaces suggesting a hundred more worlds to observe, if you can only get there. It’s Narnia, Enid Blyton and Gumby all rolled into one.
Officially addicted. Definitely getting my full license sometime in the next few months overseas so I can jump of mountains all over the world. Yeah.