Friday, 22 January 2010

Dreams of Falling

I am floating in a sea of deep blue. A carpet of clouds is below me. The sun shines brilliantly through the rarefied atmosphere. There is no sound and no sensation of any kind of movement.

I turn my head to watch my jet plane float away from me at a jaunty angle. I look down at the ground far, far below me and when I look back for my plane it has disappeared.

I notice the wind whipping past as it catches at my clothes. The deep sapphire blue above me slowly recedes as the clouds below grow in size. Mountains of verdant green show through in places.

I play with turning, using my arms and reorienting my view. Time passes and as the cloud level approaches I notice how slowly I have been floating downwards.

I speed up my descent and travel down past the top of a nearby mountain. The angle my flight takes on while at this newly speeded up pace makes it appear askew in my vision. Floating turns into flying.

I do tight circles over the airfield I plan to land on and I slow my descent by stretching my body out and letting wind resistance decelerate me.

I pull the cord for my parachute about a hundred metres above the ground and continue circling the airfield. Barely metres above the ground a hurricane fence appears as if out of nowhere and is too high to continue over on my current trajectory. Rather than slam into it I ditch to the ground at a sharp angle and at great speed, injuring myself in the process. Flying turns to falling.

Barely seconds have I spent on the ground and I am already yearning to go back up and float in the sky again.

Regaining my feet, I search up and down the fence for a gap – a large number of villagers are walking parallel to it but they don’t show a way through. It’s then that I realise there is an easier, lazier way to get across the fence.

Calling the agency, I order a small personal sized gyrocopter and it lands in the field of grass on top of the canister of blue smoke I dropped. I hop inside, start up the rotors and sense of floating returns. I hover up and over the fence. I have a mission to start - a mission bound to the ground - but the dream of floating and falling and flying lingers.

With every jump I float through the air, briefly detaching myself form the tyranny of The Ground. But the jumps with their brevity make a mockery of the true floating and are much the poorer for it. I try not to jump unless I have to.