Bucket List Items



When I was 16, I got it in my head that I wanted to go skydiving. I’ve no idea from whence this idea came, but once it climbed into my noggin, it put down roots. Go figure.


Years later, in Southern California, my friend Charlie said he was driving to Perris, CA to skydive. I just had to go along. Don the Juan wanted to jump as well, so we all loaded into the car one Saturday, with Mister in tow (he did not jump), and drove to the airfield.


I won’t bore you with describing the multitude of papers we had to sign, or the rather short training we experienced. I do remember that, after signing away all my legal rights to sue, I told Mister that since he hadn’t signed anything, he should take them for all they had if anything happened to me. (Y’all do know nothing happened, right?)


When the appointed time came, I knelt in the plane’s open door. My jump-buddy said “Go!” and I didn’t hesitate. I fell forward, as I’d been instructed, and positioned my body in the falling pose. It took only seconds for my eyes to adjust and to realize I was free-falling. I couldn’t help but smile, as it was truly exhilarating.


And loud. I couldn’t hear anything but screaming wind. There was so much adrenaline pumping through my veins, I couldn’t feel anything either. That’s why I missed my jump-buddy tapping my leg, signaling me to pull the parachute cord. She did it a couple of times, and I never felt it. So she pulled the cord and the parachute opened.


After the initial jolt, it was, well, lovely. The slow-down in falling ended the wind’s howl and it was actually quite quiet. I just kept marveling at how beautiful everything was. The view was better than anything I’ve ever seen from an airplane window. Truly, the earth is the most magnificent patchwork-quilt imaginable. I am blessed to have seen it so openly.


I think Charlie went back and jumped a couple more times. I’m not sure about Don the Juan. For me, that one time was enough. I had checked something off my bucket list and the checking took. I can honestly say that since that day, I’ve never once wanted to jump out of a plane.


The thing about Bucket List items is they change. Just like us. And that’s okay. If I look over some of the things I wanted to do as a teenager, I can pretty much guarantee I wouldn’t want to do them all now. A few things? Sure. Heck, I may not want to do something I wrote down last year. Again, that’s okay.


Even if I choose to change it, I like my Bucket List. It’s just for me, no one else. And it’s fantastic to have things I dream about. Things to shoot for. Goals are good. Even crazy ones.


These photos are more than a record of my one and only skydiving experience. They serve as a reminder that I can dream. That I can achieve. That I can fly.



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