Sunday, January 29, 2012

Immersing in 16,000ft and 70 seconds of free falling!

This morning I have the gift of waking up in the beautiful Bay of Islands.  On my way to the outside toilet, my first glimpse across the orchard and out to the water, brought a rabbit jumping with joy – no-one else is up and about to disturb its raid on the garden.  I’m staying in a bach at the head of the KeriKeri River at the head of the southern headland to the inlet.  We are in Kiwi territory.  They started calling to each other about 10 last night.  It feels like only yesterday that summer arrived and even though the water is still cold, and the tide was at low ebb we got our first swim, then lay and dozed in the sun.  Even as late in the day as it was, I got sunburned.  When we get the sun here it is fierce indeed.

I’m up in KeriKeri (which is 3 hours north of Auckland) to fulfill a dream I had when I was 15 – to do a parachute jump.  So it’s happening today.  Back in 1975 you had to jump by yourself, but these days you can tandem jump.  For my friend Michelle it’s a bucket list item and she is already excited and bouncing about everywhere; whereas I feel perfectly calm, as if it is nothing more than taking a swim in the sea.  We are going up to 16,000 feet and free falling for seventy seconds – the highest jump in New Zealand.

My word for the year, that the things I do and experience and have in my life in 2012 is Immersion.  What better way to begin than a tandem Skydive?  It’s a dream that has been at the back of the shelf for far too long, for lots of different reasons, until it was almost forgotten.

We are back from not sky diving and are feeling very disappointed.  There has been too much cloud all day and only two flights got up between the clouds.  One’s expectations can lead to huge disappointments.  I had such big plans for this weekend and all day we have been back and forth to the airfield.  Filling the burst in between with short activities that we really didn’t have a huge interest in or excitement about as we were totally focused on jumping.  I had also hoped to learn to row a dingy this weekend.  We are booked to jump again, at 4pm tomorrow – but there are no guarantees and we might have to come back another time.  It seems like an activity that is best decided on the day to avoid the disappointment – but then you don’t get a discounted price.  We are re-scheduled for 4pm tomorrow.  Fingers crossed.  J

We decided to go down to the beach and jump in the sand – this resulted in sets of crazy photo’s.  I’m cautious of jumping from two feet off the ground for fear of hurting myself.  This is  hangover from when I was nine and let go of a rope swing and landed on my head – it resulted in a coma for a couple of days.  Somehow though, the thought of jumping from 16,000 feet doesn’t faze me at all.

I had to post this photo - because the sunset was incredible!

30 Jan 2012
Monday was the perfect day today in so many ways.  Crystal clear, blue sky, no wind, still water and the ocean reflecting the light.  It was so tempting we got up and went out in the kyaks for two hours – I could have stayed out all day till our jump time.  The water in the Kerikeri inlet is so clear you can see all the way to the bottom.

We jumped on Monday 30 January.  I can highly recommend it and would definitely do it again – apart from the frustration of waiting around.  Booked for 4pm today, we got to jump at 7.20pm, and the day was still totally gorgeous.  I felt completely calm and relaxed about it, not hyped up or exhilarated until after the jump.  My Tandem Master had done 13 jumps already that day and my jump brought his personal jump total to 6,001!  So I really was attached to an expert.  


Sunday, January 08, 2012

Don’t forget to write by Maya Stein

while you are piecing together the map of your life,
stepping as nimbly as you can out of the mulch
of your thoughts, the busy traffic of your heart,
while you attempt grace and magic and the blessing of
your soft, surrendered kiss, while you are fathoming the stretch you will need for the wide and rocky jungle of your own happiness,
while you are hunkering down to a piece of dark bread
and the odd, welcome relief of hunger,
don’t forget to write.

write this day, its too-early morning and the birdsong
you cursed into your pillow.  write the way the dog
looked as you as forlornly as your own shadow.
write this blanket, this cup of coffee, the irreverent
clatter of the neighbor’s lawnmower.  Write the bees
that bend forever to their task.  Write the July heat
and the laps in the town pool that cleave you from
this earth, the over-solid grip you have on everything. 
write this hour, tired and awake all at once, the distractions
you can make of breakfast or a calculator or the remote control
lying flaccid on the living room couch.

Write the dead mosquito on the bathroom floor, the small
clot of blood on your forearm.  Write the careful arrangement
of the bed linens, the yellow of the walls, the way the
garden hose snakes around the back porch where old boxes
are bending under their own weight and where spiders
have begun to take control of the tomato plants.
write your white legs and your short pants and
The constellations imprinted on your skin.  Write
The dusty sex toys in the bedside bureau, the silvery
condom packages nearing their expiration dates.
write the wet sound of love in the middle of the night.

write the blackberry bush and its sour fruit,
the mailman in his cheerful hat,
the neighbor who confuses you with someone else,
calls you a name that’s not yours, write the feeling
of lost identity and disappointment and some letter
you’re perennially hoping for.

write the words for failure.  write the words for hope.
write the tightrope dangling above the canyon,
and down below, the electric water furious and free.

write green.  write violet.  write blazing orange.
write the smell of grapefruit skin, the eyelash
on a cheekbone, the hand you hold in the dark.
write the first, honest paragraphs of sunrise.
write everything, or nothing, but don’t forget to write.