I was up before the sun today. I placed some coffee grounds at the base of the french press and put the kettle on the stove. I put on a pair of pants, shirt, jacket and shoes; took a step outside.
The darkness of the night was still upon me as I waited for the sun to awake. There was a faint breeze I could feel on my uncovered skin. The leaves of the surrounding trees were rustling in the background. The tall grass field moving like waves of the ocean, a light dew covering the stems. The cold from the dirt beneath me rises into the soles of my shoes; I'm aware of its presence but I choose to ignore.
I take a deep breath in through my nose and exhale through my mouth. The morning air fills my lungs and brings excitement for the day ahead. The breeze across the back of my neck causes my hair to stand on end. In the background I hear the kettle whistle; it's time for coffee.
I return indoors to prepare the coffee. I walk to the cooler grabbing a small yogurt and return to the counter to grab a piece of fruit. I pour my travel mug full of the dark roast; steamy aroma filling the air as I replace the lid.
I grab my water bottle, helmet, pads, and BASE rig, as I walk through the door. I toss them into the trunk and start my car.
There is a warm orange glow behind the mountain; it's a beautiful silhouette. The sun is coming and the day is about to begin.
As I drive down the dirt road gravel flips up hitting the rocker panel below. Dust clouds fill the air behind. Rays of light shine through just reaching the rear view mirror. I feel warm.
The pull out is empty. I place the car in park. I open the door, the morning cold is inhaled into the cabin. I step out, gather my gear, tighten my shoes, and proceed to walk to the trailhead.
As I hike I see my breath in the air. My pack against my back gathering moisture from the warmth of my body. Two birds fly in a circle overhead, the presence is peaceful.
I approach the base of the steep terrain and dig my shoe into the sand, the footing doesn't feel secure, but I proceed. The rock face isn't far from here.
As I near the exit point and drop my gear, I step to the edge of the cliff and overlook the canyon below.
I put my rig on securing my leg straps and chest strap. Double checking to ensure everything is in working order. I place my helmet on my head clipping the buckle beneath my chin; tightening the strap firmly against my skin.
Again I walk to the cliff, toes nearing the edge. I close my eyes and inhale. Focus consumes me, the only thing that matters is this moment. I'm completely aware of my breathing, the sound of nature around me, and the presence of all things, now.
I lunge forward propelling myself off the cliff in a single, controlled, and stable movement. There is a brief moment where there is complete freedom. I am no longer grounded to the earth or a victim of gravity. I am not falling, or flying, but I am free. In this moment there is no sound, no temperature, no smell, and no control. I am weightless.
As I accelerate toward the earth, the wind noise heightens and the peacefulness of the world is no longer present. I reach back, grasping my pilot chute firmly and throw it sideways in one powerful motion. I feel the light tug as it inflates and proceeds to pull the canopy from its container. As it reaches line stretch I abruptly sit up vertically in my harness. A sense of comfort overcomes me as my adrenaline slows.
I descend into the valley, canyon walls towering overhead and casting shadows on the ground below.
I navigate to an open area where my feet touch down gently. A calming feeling is present as I start to gather my gear.
I look up to the exit point and take in the beauty around me. The contrast of the sun behind the canyon walls and the deep shadows on the ground below. A slight breeze makes the trees sway and brings a chilling sensation.
I am no longer free. I am no longer falling, or flying. I am now a victim of the gravity that binds us to the rock we call home. This universe is heavy, breathing is difficult.
I proceed to walk back to the car, happiness is in my heart. Everything that I did today was a choice.
I choose, peace. I choose the silence of dead air. I choose the sound of nature. I choose to recognize the detail of the day. I choose small things. I choose this moment. I choose to live. I choose freedom.