I Believe in Skydiving

Monica - Marshfield, Massachusetts
Entered on March 5, 2011
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Soft, gentle clouds spread themselves across the angelic azure sky, each wisp a thoughtless yet flawless stroke of God’s paintbrush. The translucent rays of a golden sun delicately touch plush green rainforests, hidden just miles away from the water’s edge. An all-too-forgotten calmness defines the day. Brightly colored umbrellas and fluorescent striped beach chairs seem to adorn almost every inch of the sandy beaches, overcome by the combination of salty air and the instantly recognizable scent of sunscreen. Sunbathers barely pay attention to a small plane which flies overhead, a plane I am about to jump out of.

I believe in skydiving.

After brushing aside any doubts or hesitations, I fastened the final strap on my harness and boarded the plane with seven other anxious first-time jumpers and their seasoned instructors. Last-minute thoughts and fears scurried through my nervous mind as I prepared to leap, but before I could even process or overanalyze the daunting act I was about to partake in, I was freefalling. Today, we exist within the hustle bustle mentality of a society so centered on routine and so plagued by hyper-stimulation that our minds inevitably grow tired and weary. We pass by strangers with a cold shoulder and jaded hearts, rather than warm eyes and open arms. Humanity, once liberated by nature, has become tainted by a society we created. However, rushing through the air at ten thousand feet in sixty seconds, I experienced life though completely different eyes.

Just as the freefall ended and my instructor pulled the parachute, he turned to me as we glided for the last five thousand miles and said, “Look around; this is why the birds sing.” He pointed out the rushing waterfalls of the Tully River, nestled in the oldest rainforest on the planet, and spun me around so I could see the cerulean waters surrounding the wondrous Great Barrier Reef. From this altitude, I found myself completely removed from the trivial matters which often consume our lives. No cell phones rang, no ipods blasted music into my ears; instead, a different soundtrack played: silence. Everything looked so perfect, so still, and so blissful from so far away that I was unsure I ever wanted to detach my temporary wings and plant my feet on the ground ever again.

I believe in the melodies of the birds which sing of life’s forgotten beauty.

Ironically, in surrendering my own agency and putting all of my trust into a stranger, I learned about myself and who this world needs me to be. As the adrenaline pumped through my veins at an unparalleled rate and I viewed the earth though the eyes of the angels, I rediscovered what it felt like to feel alive intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. The world needs me to inspire others through re-instilling within their hearts a passion for life and a hunger for knowledge.

I believe in self-discovery.