Wednesday, September 30, 2009

inertia, joy, and boundlessness


I feel so light.

I'm moving so quickly under my own power. I'm busier than I've been in years, which is funny because my capacity for productive work has always been high. These days, when my energy peaks it's like sticking a finger into a light socket and, when I recharge, I recharge quickly.

This goal-laden calendar in front of me is playing testament to how solidly this is clicking into place - it's as though I'm an electromagnet, and I just figured out how to turn myself on.

Monday, September 28, 2009

learning curve


I.

It sounds counterintuitive, but it felt great to spend a long day at the DZ with absolutely no intention of jumping out of anything. Instead, I spent the day crawling around with the lead packer, learning how to convince my slippery behemoth of a canopy that it really, really wanted to squoosh down into the little d-bag. I packed it three times after I nailed it, just to be sure.

I'm fascinated by the design of my parachute. It's poetry. Despite the rawness of my fingers from the stows and the grouchiness of my knees from the crawling, I discovered that I really like to pack. I like to manipulate the individual parts of the thing, because I find them generally miraculous - and I like to have my hands full of little miracles.

After the class, I had the singular treat of being perched on a picnic table, congratulatory beer in hand. Three of us alternately swung from the low branches of a nearby tree and watched video of freefliers catapulting each other into the wild blue yonder. I learned about the Horny Gorilla and the See Ya Later, Mr. Bill. As the sun settled lazily down behind the Ortegas, we were howling with glee.

Pretty great day, actually.

II.

What's on tap (other than skydiving, Spanish, shootin', and my professional pursuits, of course):
* Keith Code school, for extra vroom
* WFR Certification, so's I can convince folks to let me ground crew for 'em
* Get my PADI OWD, because if I get eaten by a shark it'll be gorgeously foreshadowed in the narrative of my life

The goal? Every day, be awesomer.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

the nights are to get through


I.

I'm holed up at the DZ again. I think I might be hiding. It's as good a place as any to hide.

Uncertainty is exciting. It's *the* exciting thing, as a matter of fact. Certainty is the death of interest.

Even so, a bit of encouragement would be nice. I'm ready to gnaw off my own arm.

II.

Someone compared me favourably to "the redheadeded girl" on the TV show 'Mad Men' today. As I'm TVless, I hadn't seen it - so I googled it, and whaddaya know. It's Saffron, from my favourite episode of Firefly.

Best. Compliment. Ever. I'm the new mayor of blushtopolis.

III.

I've made the same mistake so many times. This time is different. If I'm making a mistake, it's going to be a brand-new one.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

aim high


Yesterday's jumping was a delight. Being packed into a plane with a grip of Air Force flyboys was like suddenly being surrounded by tussling, hilarious brothers. I felt so at home in there, sardined in with a bunch of khaki camo, showered in affectionate razzing and gear checks.

I'm so glad for my Air Force roots, as ephemeral as they are. It's good blood to have in my veins. I'll always like blue uniforms best, and I'll always tear up at that damn Lee Greenwood song.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

snapshot


Things I know to be true:

1. The heart of darkness is where all the light is.
2. I'm hurtling forward at top speed around totally blind corners, and I've never had so much fun.
3. My heart and my head are finally in agreement. It's flabbergasting what magic happens when they're working on the same projects.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

the princess and the skygod

I.

My dreams have been incredibly lucid, of late.

There’s a level of realism there that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced. For the past three days, I’ve woken up a bit tired; I’m living a second life.

I think it’s about anticipation. Impatience. A wanderlust so strong (and so, well, lusty) that I don’t have enough time in the day to see to it.

We’re driving in a borrowed van conversion, windows rolled down. I’ve perched one foot on the side mirror outside, and I’m enjoying the feeling of the warm, humid air washing over it. I’m singing to myself, as per usual.

There’s a jungle on one side of us. There’s a cliff on the other. The road’s rough, but you’re somehow managing to keep a hand on my knee as you drive it. My hair is tied into pigtails. Your cheeks are scruffy with two-week-old growth, and you’re laughing.

We lurch to the top of the pass. The jungle is thrown like a nubby green blanket over everything we can see from up here. The canyon slithers through it, the sun slashing down the rocks as far as it can manage before the shadows take over. The sky is scattered liberally with the signature silver-bottomed billows of the tropics. It smells like greenstuff and petrichor and our sweat, salty and slightly sour from last night’s carousing.

I perch on the hood with a water bottle, scanning the endless wideness all around us. You parked close to the edge, but I’m at peace with edges now. I can hear the scratch of radio in the van behind me, static splashing over a man rattling on in Spanish.

You hop up next to me and playfully pin me to the metal beneath. I lose a sandal in the scuffle and it cuts a beautiful arc through the air, sailing down into the maw of the canyon.

Your lips find mine. I hold tight to your wide shoulders, and your pendant taps the space over my heart.

II.

Los Angeles, I don’t love you anymore.

We’ve been together so long, and I know you so well – but we both knew from the start that it wasn’t going to be forever. I was just a kid when we met. I didn’t know who I was.

I know you, sugar. I know you really, really well. I’ve seen you ugly, and I’ve seen you beautiful. I’ve seen you wake up, and I’ve heard your voice as you toss and turn. I’ve suckled at your teat, and I’ve laughed at your ridiculous posturing, and I’ve told so many of your secrets, and I’ve dabbled noncommitally in plans to stay with you for always. Those plans always rang so hollow. I knew it was a futile exercise.

I find the devotion of your other lovers hilarious. If they knew you like I did, they wouldn’t chase you. They wouldn’t bleed themselves out in the hopes that you’ll love them. After all, the only reason you took such good care of me is that I stopped caring what you thought years ago.

Ten years is a long time, honey. I did love you. Some part of me always will. You’ll come up in conversation – so many lunatic anecdotes – and I’ll laugh, and people will wonder why I left you.

You know. And I know.

Good luck with your next one.

Monday, September 14, 2009

glide


I'm still thinking about it.

It was this past Sunday, on my second jump. I'd just done six perfect flips, popped a perfect canopy, and had settled in for a sweet swoop down.

Suddenly, I noticed I wasn't alone.

A red-tailed hawk was slipping through the wind perhaps ten feet off to my right. From where I was, hanging in the sky directly next to him, I was able to watch the air moving through his flight feathers as he rode it.

He caught me staring and shot me a look. I glanced away, bashful.

He gave me an up-and-down onceover, tossed his head, and spiralled effortlessly down.

One day, I'll be able to give playful chase.

Friday, September 11, 2009

try this trick and spin it


I.

I was Tyler Durden last night.

Somewhere in a black-sangria dreamland, I found myself standing at the window next to Marla. She and I were calmly watching everything explode.

It was a symphony of twisting, shivering steel. It was orange against black. It was beautiful.

II.

I got into the tunnel yesterday afternoon for my weekly training and, due to a titch of a miscommunication with my coach about what I was working on, ended up doing backflying work. Despite the surprise and total lack of any briefing, I managed to figure it out and get bouncin' around. I didn't feel any impacts in the tunnel, but I noticed some funky bruising when I hopped out of the shower later that evening: a bloom of purple in the middle of my spine, and a spill of blue around one elbow.

Rubbing arnica into my arm before drifting off, surrounded by the rosemary piquancy of the oil, I smiled to myself. My body shifts and bruises and tightens around this cage of bones, and my heart grows bigger every day.

III.

How will I stay here until February? It's like trying to hold a wave on the sand.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

relative wind


When I was a baby in the Philippines, my dad would pass my room as he went off to work in the mornings and hear me singing to myself in my crib. Even now, when I have a little too much inside to safely hold there, I'll sing to let the valve open a bit.

Today, I sang myself from canopy check all the way to the ground. Twice.

So much has changed, so quickly.

It's amazing to me how different the door looks, first of all. On that very first jump, shoved back against my tandem pilot with my fingers grazing the good Doctor's shoulder in a silent, slightly embarrassed bid for encouragement, the door looked like the period at the end of a sentence. I mused on the apparent flimsiness of its scuffed-but-rather-clear plastic. I watched smoke curling up from the hundreds of little fires on the far-below African landscape, felt the unfamiliar tug of webbing around my legs, and nudged myself forward like a woman possessed. I remember watching the etched quietude of my companion's face as he glanced behind him to check our position in the plane, and the not-quite-half-smile he flashed me as he rolled out into the void. I watched the wind take him. I followed.

Now, the door becomes a picture frame for an expressionist portrait of myself. When I leap and arch, I'm looking at the feathered tips of wings that only I can see; wings that spring strong from my shoulderblades. As I slide down to press the softness of my stomach into the breath of the earth, I feel her reaching for me - snaking fingers along my neck to rustle my hair, curling around my waist and thighs, tickling my palms. When I flip, I feel her catch me. When I turn, she grabs my hands and dances along. When I pull, she plays with me like a marionette, and I'm a beautiful doll spinning in a sky full of beautiful dolls, spinning.

Other people seem to enjoy jumping with each other. I see them planning complicated manouevers, rolling kiddishly around on their boards, grabbing and releasing and skidding to and fro.

Where I am right now, the complicated games seem needless - I have so little time with her, and I don't want to share it.