Alright, it’s going to be hard to put this in words, but my dad insisted I should try. We drove over the bridge looking down into the gorge where we would jump, our faces pressed up to the windows of the van. Once over, we pulled into a dirt road on the side and came to an area of buildings. There was a little café with a view of the bridge, a souvenir shop and place to fill out the paperwork and sign up. I really wasn’t too nervous, it was hard to know what to expect. Even watching the jumpers from afar didn’t overwhelm or disconcert me, it just didn’t quite seem real yet. As we got our harnesses some members of the group were bouncing with excitement, others were actually close to tears. Almost everyone was a bit wide eyed.
We walked out onto this little catwalk and at this point I definitely started feeling uncomfortable, the wire was bendy under my feet and you could see right through all the way to the bottom of chasm. We finally reached the concrete at the center of the bridge, underneath the passing cars. Loud, pumping music was echoing around us, and the workers had high energy, some of them dancing while they worked. As they strapped up the first jumper we started to dance; building up our energy, feeding it to each other, getting more and more excited as we cheered on Daniela, who took her selection to be 1st with a brave face.
When it was my turn and they started strapping me up I still wasn’t panicky or anything. I just focused on the music. Only when they helped me stand and I looked out over the bridge did my heart do a little leap. “Ohh no.” I said. The guy was speaking to me, telling me about how the jump works and what would happen but I couldn’t register what he was saying. I kept shaking my head a little bit, trying not to psych myself out. When I got to the edge I realized he had stopped talking, he wasn’t telling me what to do anymore. My toes hanging over the edge, my eyes wide at the empty space in front of me, I quietly, absent mindedly asked, “Now what?” He laughed and said “Now you bungee jump.”
And then I jumped.
In the first moments, I was hit with a deafening silence. It was the type of silence that fills you up. The kind that gets in your eyes and your mouth and your nose and suddenly you are holding your breath. Suddenly I was holding my breath. Everything below me was in sharp focus and of course, I felt like I was flying. I hurtled toward the vast, gorgeous picture below me in what seemed like slow motion.
Eventually, time caught up with me and I could then feel my speed, the air whipping by me as I rushed toward the ground. The bungee caught and I was launched back up, felt myself suspended in the air again. When it was all over I was left there hanging, taking deep, deep breaths, marveling at life, at the human experience, and thanking God for letting me be a part of it.
After my surprisingly peaceful moments at the bottom, I realized I no longer was enjoying hanging upside down hundreds of feet in the air and hoped I would be lifted up soon, as all the blood was rushing to my head. A worker came spindling down like a spider on its web, and lifted me to safety.
P.s. Mr. Hill, I thought of you as I was up on the bridge, happy to be following in yours and Michelle’s footsteps!
Here’s a link to the video: