Friday, 20 February 2015

Skywired




I do not want to get out of bed.
It is the right weather for hiding in bed with a book.
Mr does not want to get out of bed. He is sure he has more sleep to attend to.

But if your Granddaughter requests to see you fly, out of bed you get.

Dog does not want to get into the car.
What if there is a vet involved? An injection?

Reluctance and rain, that’s how the day begins.

To the Eden Project we go, park up, send Girl, Grandchild  and Dog to the viewing platform with all the bags.
Mr and me jump on a bus to the Skywire shed office and hand over cash for wrist bands. We sign forms to say we are unlikely to die of an existing complaint.
(Nothing on the form about a restrictive fear of heights, luckily.)
We are put into harnesses and weighed in kilos, which I only use to buy sugar for brewing and begin to calculate how many gallons worth am I?
The safety talk is simple: Do Not Touch Anything.

Meanwhile Jenny takes the van to the landing site. They will transport bags for you, so Girl’s shoulders could have been spared. Too late now. Off goes Jenny, ready to land us like big fish. A catch of seven climbs the steps. 
Except the steps aren’t built yet. Our first piece of resilience training is (safely clipped) to clamber to the top of a bouncy ladder. 
It gives a treehouse ambience. It feels like a long way up. 
I try to fog up my goggles to forget about height. 
One rung at a time and a sense of deep satisfaction: there am I, at the top, in the cool rain, looking over the Eden Project, tethered up and queuing.
Like washing on a line, a lady says. She isn’t scared of heights but we all do that sort of jokey conversing which is prompted by nervous situations.

And then, it is me. 
I have to stand on a bigger box than the others to reach the clips up to the rolly thing that links me now to the skywire. 
I have seen the procedure five times now but leaning forwards to make the harness into a sling takes some bravado. 
Legs are pushed out behind, hands in, as a bird in a dive would be.
Ready?
That question is not for me, it’s for the landing crew.
Out I go: voomph!
This is high up, wobbly, fast: I am fleet, airborne, FLYING (might die, don’t think that) FLYING over the bubbles of biome, tops of trees, over the road, tiny people- nice boots down there- in the sky! 
Fear is forgotten. 
Flight is felt, speed, freedom: like Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, that’s me.
Uh oh, here comes land. Fast. 
An image of feet sticking out of the stony ground.
This doesn't happen.
Lauraine is right about the brakes. They work and you notice it.
My feet are on the ground and wrestling backwards out of the harness is a final test. Manage to keep my clothes in place, eventually.
‘Wow.’ I say the word that Jenny possibly hears most in a day. It is the right word though. I am wowed.

If you can get over nerves and doubts, life is better. This is the point, for me. To open up the world, to keep adventure in my soul.
Flying, I was!

I watch bullet shaped Mr hit the brakes and tangle-wrestle out of the harness.
‘Wow.’ He grins.

We are both broad of mouth as we walk back to ground level. Girl, Grandchild 2 and Dog jump from a door to greet us.
‘You were AMAZING!’ The grandchild fizzes with glee.
As you would if you believed that your grandparents could fly.


With thanks to the Crew: Hangloose at Eden







6 comments:

  1. Belief makes us courageous, or fools, and occasionally courageous fools.
    Unless, of course, it's inspired by a grandchild, then it is true love.

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    1. All of the above apply for us I reckon! :-) Thank you Jacqueline xx

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  2. Madam, I commend you. Such courage! I could not have done it awake and would doubtless have fainted. Yet, you are not unaffected --I see by the excellent closing photo that your right and left hands were reversed by the trauma and are now of noticeably different sizes.

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    Replies
    1. Sir, happy to report that hands are now returned to their usual ground based positions and sizes. Do have an urge to leap off the stairs shouting 'wheeeeee' however :-)

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