What's in my head

This is the home of your average girl in her early 30s making her way in the big city...Not really. I have thoughts. Now I have somewhere to put them.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Watch me soar

Originally uploaded by danielle6.

So my hang gliding is old news but I'm posting my experience anyway because it's my blog and I can do whatever I want.

After my hot air balloon ride I was looking for something a little more adventerous, something riskier. I remembered there was a hang gliding school in Pickering so I set up a tandem flight. I wasn't nervous the day before, I was sure the chance of thunderstorms would postpone things and give me time to calm my nerves. I was wrong. At 10 a.m. I made the call and got the answer I wasn't looking for: my flight would go ahead as scheduled. I felt the nerves in my stomach tighten and I wondered why I had decided to do this. But I couldn't back out, I had already told everyone I was going to do this.

"Breathe" by Michelle Branch was playing when I started the car. It made me think of the episode of Sex and the City where Carrie is doing the trapeze and she can't get the catch. When she finally did it that song was playing, remember that calmed me (judge later, read now). A short while later I pulled onto the sprawling property. There was no turning back.

I met Dave, the instructor/pilot, and my first question flew out of my mouth "how long have you been doing this for?" "Two weeks," he replied. I wasn't amused. This was no laughing matter. He led me back into the club house and I began firing questions at him. The more questions I asked, the more comfortable I felt. Then came the scary part: the waiver. High Perspectives was not responsible for any injuries "up to and including death." Don't panic I thought.

Dave showed me the hang glider, then James helped me get into my harness and helmet. It felt a little lose, I asked him to tighten it - I wouldn't feel safe until there was chaffing. Dave and I rolled the glider to the top of the of the small hill where we would hitch to the tow line. He clipped himself on first and then attached me to the glider and to him - he had the parachute. I laid down on the ground, suspended from the glider. Any last bit of nerves I had faded away as I hung there, securely in place. I was ready to go. Dave gave the signal to James and away we went, sharply upwards into the smoggy sky.

It all happened so fast I don't remember exactly how it felt or how we ended up at 1,000 feet. We gained height before letting go of the tow ropes and then we were free, flying high above the green fields and patches of trees. Dave pointed out our shadow all those many feet below us on the ground and a hawk flying several hundred feet below us (we made it to 1,300 feet).

I could feel the wind blowing over me and I couldn't stop smiling as we flew freely through the sky. I never wanted to return to the ground. But after 25 minutes it was time to land. Dave brought us around to where we had taken off and lowered us so quickly I couldn't figure out how he was doing it. We had just enough time for me to ask if the landing was bumpy and him to tell me to lift my feet before my face was just inches from the grass. I was flying no more.

Dave helped me stand up and the earth felt strange under my feet. I wanted to go again. I felt happy and confident and exhilirated. Now when I see birds flying a smile creeps across my face as I remember what is was like to be soaring in the sky.


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