“You don’t jump … you step, like walking off the pavement when you cross the road.
It’s noisy but you don’t hear anything as you are concentrating on what you are going to do.
Smell is the sense that is heightened the most when you are scared and can’t see anything and your ears won’t work. It stinks of piss and puke with a waft of pure freshness coming at you in insufficient quantity to clear your gut from being scared and taking away the metal taste in your mouth.
Now it’s your turn with the rear-front shuffle taking you to the black hole while your arms are aching with holding onto the weight and I want to throw up but I didn’t eat anything on purpose.
It’s pointless looking up because the cloud blanks out the stars you otherwise would expect to not see, a double negative on a good night that tells you it’s open.
Now your ears tell you what’s happening. Shouts from others that have gone before and are coming after.
Fumbling around with D-rings that pose no challenge to someone who has spent a brief life unhooking a rear fastening bra, one-handed when inebriated with a nice pair waiting for your attention.
A firm tug, gentle oscillation and then the wait for the sound that tells you Mother Earth is claiming you and she is a hard mistress.
“Fear – Relief – Panic” but I prefer “Every landing you can walk away from is good one.”
It’s taken several hours of being thrown around to get here but less than sixty seconds to get back where God intended – walking on the ground and giving it the “Big I Am” with colleagues.
Then there is the awful dawning realisation that the nearest pub is seven thousand miles away and jumping in the dark is not the scariest thing in your life.”
Twenty years ago I would not have been able to write this.
If you read this far, you know how far I have come.