At 12,000ft the scenery swimming past the window of your choice of aircraft looks magical. Land and water meet and merge, their colours vibrating in the sunlight; at 12,000ft, you realize how tiny even the biggest building on the block actually is.
For my 25th birthday, we got to jump out of a plane, freefalling for 45 seconds at the speed of 200 km/hr. For the 8-10 minutes we were scaling the sky, circling mountains and passing over lakes, i don’t think i let my breath out. My belly ached with tension and i couldn’t manage a smile despite my instructor’s wholehearted attempts to distract me.
At quota the pilot opened the door, so that all this air came bursting in, making it impossible to breathe. I may have wanted to scream, but my throat was gasping for air. Inching my way out, still safe on the ledge, i wondered how long 45 seconds really are, and told myself they’d probably be either the fastest or the slowest of my life.
I reckon they were neither. Time stood still as all my senses opened up to the freefall, from the narrowing distance of land to the mounting pressure in my ears and the uselessness of my limbs. And then, before i had the chance to realize it, the parachute opened and all was quiet, this intense silence in being above water and land. I remember thinking how perfect it is, all of it, seeing it from another point of view, in the most literal sense of the expression.
I’d do it again. Only this time, Jelle won’t be surprising me into it 🙂