Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Leap of Faith
Here you are, standing on top of Pedra Bonita, or Beautiful Rock. You are on the runway, ready to go. The instructor signals that it is your turn. You run a few steps and you fall away over the Cliff top. You fall, you don’t know how far, and then the mighty wings at your side take over. They take control as the wind rushes past your face, and you begin to glide. You look around, and it is difficult to believe. You think this is what ‘living life to the full’ is really all about. It is difficult to take in.
This is not a near-death experience. It is more like an extra-life experience. This really is an extraordinary feeling. This is a rush of adrenalin, total exuberance, and utter peace all woven into one. Gliding like the birds is an experience never to be forgotten. And as you glide around in the air, sometimes a gush of air will take you up again, but slowly you are losing height. Circling around like the birds, riding the waves of air. For ten minutes or more, you float, you glide, and you are as one with the birds.
Below you are the sea, the beach, and the teeming city. It would be better to land on the beach, which is the one which separates the other two, but you are never quite sure until you land. But, there is no need to worry about that for the moment. The sea seems to drift into infinity, as does the city. Only the beach is finite. So your mind drifts away and soaks up these moments of heaven.
You have to seize the moment, because it does not last forever. In fact, it is running away from you. You try to enjoy it, looking around, with a smile on your face. Yes, this is it. This is the nearest we come to flying with the birds, this is the nearest we come to perfect peace, and before we know it, it is gone....
The beach rushes up to you, and with a final tilt of the wings, you land on your feet on Cucumber beach. Your legs feel like jelly, but the exhilaration is such that you feel as though you are on the moon.
And you reflect on your feat. Here you are in Rio de Janeiro, the most beautiful city on earth. You went to the mountain called Pedra Bonita-Beautiful Mountain-and you jumped off the mountain with a hanglider and an instructor behind you guiding the wings. You took your courage and you jumped off the mountain, you rode the winds like a bird, you put your faith in your instructor who directed the giant wings, and you floated around until you landed on the beach. And for some of those who rode the winds, they will take their courage, and they will take other leaps of faith in their lives, and will not ever look back, except to reflect on this exquisite moment in their lives.