I love birds. When I used to take my children to the zoo I would spend hours in the avidity just watching. Enjoying the gold and blue hews of their wings and coats.
However, when I moved to the southwest it shifted to the larger birds. My fascination changed from being taken by the frenzied flapping of feathers to the grace of flight. I watched as these larger, mostly monochromic, creatures swooped, dived, and circled for what seemed like hours without any effort on their part, not moving a muscle of their wings.
Later I took up skydiving, and without ever making the connection, found myself relating to those raptors as never before. As I jumped from about 3000 feet I could hear the sound of the engine’s drone slowly fade away. The wind indeed just the air rushed all around me. I pulled the rip-cord and the chute opened. It was then I felt it.
I was a student jumper and was learning using a T-10 parachute. It was one with a very wide canopy, so my descent was very slow, about 5 to 7 mph. I hung there in the sky what felt like motionless, not the swooping and diving, but circling, riding the air currents like those birds I had watched with wonderment for so many years before. Just me, the wind, and the silence, together.
I made many jumps since then and when the jump-master asked if wanted to change to a smaller, faster, more colorful chute, I declined. I was happy to experience being a bird even if for just a short time.