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just jump already

freefalling_1Some day, I’m going to do it. Not sure when, not sure how, but it’s on my bucket list. I want to jump out of an airplane. I would do it right now, but I’ve decided that there is a certain degree of danger involved and my family needs me so I will wait until at least they all graduate high school.

I wouldn’t exactly call myself a daredevil, but I just like to do things that scare me. Growing up practically on a farm, there was always something we kids would do just because everyone else did. I know a lot of mothers would be unhappy to hear this, because we grew up with them saying “If so and so told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?” Because the answer was yes, and I did.

First step in daredevildom would be jumping in the bales of hay from the rafters of the third floor to the second floor of the barn. Now when the hay was first harvested and stored, this wasn’t so hard, but between seasons the jump was much farther. Scared? Yes. But not as scared as being called a chicken. So we jumped.

Second step was climbing the silo. I wish I could tell you how high that silo was, but all I can tell you was that it touched the sky. There were two ladders to climb from, one was enclosed but the other not. Climbing it was a real thrill unless you happened to be the last one. Someone always had to be the wise guy and spit. Yuk.

Summers were spent in the creek, pronounced in our parts “crick”, barefoot or in old sneakers. We would walk up and down the crick in our stretched out swimsuits and overturn rocks in search of minnows and salamanders. As days went by, inevitably the creek closest to home would become boring, and we would venture upstream for stronger currents or deeper swimming holes. In my neck of the woods, that meant “The Black Bridge”, an old railroad bridge running through the woods. The bridge was high and the water deep. Perfect combination for daredevil jumpers. I am not going to lie, as I am sure there are many to attest to the fact that I am not extremely brave when it comes to heights, but it is thrilling and after some time, I would work myself up to taking the plunge. After all is said and done, the worst part was probably the cold shock of the shady waterhole.

Hiking up hills is easy. It’s getting down that is the challenge. Couple that with frozen and icy conditions for the next thrill. Getting down a hill still standing up. Quick baby steps and the readiness to fall at any moment are a necessity. Reach the bottom standing up? Victory.

There are a few dares I dare not take. Graceful I am not. Erskine’s Grove at the church picnic would be one of those dares. A beautiful swimming hole at the end of a grassy trail, with a baby waterfall and a precariously rocky swimming hole is how I remember it. Cross the waterfall and climb up the small hill on a ledge of stone, and jump! Not. I vaguely remember stories of accidents in doing so and that was enough to stop me. That and the mossy rock gets quite slippery under wet feet. And as I have said, I do not possess much poise. On this I was a spectator.

One vacation with my husband and kids, we found ourselves in a similar swimming hole in Mexico. A video was made of the trip and my kids love the fact that their mom is swinging from a vine into the water below. Rewind. Play. Rewind. Play. I look at it with half covered eyes, because although I did it, I still look like that kid on the verge of being called a chicken, just doing it to prove I can.

Fast forward to this past summer. My husband and I took our kids to a water park. I was as excited as they and after warming up on the raft ride, we were ready to go down the slides. I chose the longest, windiest one, trying to recapture the thrill of childhood. I started out slow, and said to myself, there must be a faster way. I curled myself up in a ball and I was speeding down that chute. Acceleration. Exhilaration. Thwack! Oh the pain, what just happened? The sound that echoed in the yellow tube was amplified and suddenly everything was silent. Ouch. I stood there and said to myself, I think I really did something. No accomplishment, just a setback for my entire summer, I cracked my collarbone.

The rest of that day was a memory in slow motion as I watched everyone else enjoy the rest of their day. Swollen in just one spot, and such a silly foolish mistake. But that dang mistake would take me all summer to recover. The next day, we joined a club with three amazing pools. We would spend the weeks to come as a family, doing what I loved doing best in the summers of my youth, swimming. I wish I could have been doing laps alongside my husband, but after this I simply could not raise my arm above my shoulder without excruciating shocks of pain.

After a search on webmd.com, and no doctor visit despite my friends’ urgings, I decided to use the pool for some water therapy. I recreated all the moves I could from water aerobics classes and my collarbone became more bearable, still painful. As I did my thing at the one end of the pool, I would watch the kids at the diving pool with enjoyment. This pool is a wonder. Two diving boards, and three platforms of varied heights, the highest being the same height as the two story building behind it.

Treading water in perfect view, I would wait for that hour when all the hot shots would climb to the top platform and one after the other jump while being cheered on by everyone else. It wasn’t exactly a countdown, but they would all chant from one to ten in Arabic:wahad, itnain, teleteh . . . . . ASHARAH! and splash, whether the jumper was ready or not down he came.

Oh boy. Now to my new goal. I am GOING to jump from the highest platform by summer’s end. If not for the slow healing process of my collarbone, I would have! Two weeks before the pool closed for the summer, I was starting to swim laps again. I figured I would be able to do it before the pool closed. But, unfortunately, Ramadan started that last week, and we couldn’t go to the pool while fasting, so my dream was dashed.

But just you wait til next summer!


One comment on “just jump already

  1. Oooooh I feel like I found my platform jumping twin… the pressure is on for next summer…. hmmm now I am thinking: “what’s the worst that could happen?”
    Btw, did you feel a lot of pressure coming down into the water in your ears and head?

    Very elegant writing, I enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing!


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