From the notebook of T. Solstice, dated 2 October 2011
2 October 2011 § Leave a comment
Yesterday I dove off a hanging gondola into a jungled valley near Monteverde. I flew from nearly two hundred meters from the ground (that’s almost six hundred feet) above a small creek which fed grazing pastures and fat cows below the mountains, and my heart, for four seconds, four whole forevers, was dead calm. At peace.
I’d let the ties that bound me go earlier, having supermanned into dense fog on a zipline with no conception of how far I’d gone, how fast I was going, or when it might end. When it did end, it was the perfect time and place. I could have asked for nothing more fitting, challenging, or necessary to occur in my life than the events yesterday. I learned volumes.
more on that later.
I stepped up to the ledge of oblivion, Danny and Charlie the tico jump guides on either side of me having just triple checked the harness. I panicked for half a second. I stepped back, perhaps only inches. Danny was explaining the procedure for jumping. I took a breath, accepted this was life in all its insanity, adrenalin and glory. Before I finished exhaling, they were counting down from five.
Freefall was unentangled heaven, joy above the earth. The trees kept approaching. I could feel the wind coming from the ground. Endorphins and adrenalin masked themselves as god and love and happiness, and never more have I wished that Heeth had been there with me, to live life as we’d meant to live it, before 2001 worked its magic and tragedy on us all. That year glowered us innocent, stretched our creative fingers into tentacles, and realized our humanity into something tangible.
Shall we ever forgive it? for making us appreciate both what we had before it and life afterward? We were without fear that summer, and without reason come winter. Some of us never recovered.
I screamed my wishes for him to be there – against all reason, for he is dead physically, but when one jumps off a ledge to point a finger in the face of death as if to say ‘I dare you to come for me today,’ there isn’t a lot of reason going around anyway – for his friendship, brotherhood, the sense of belonging and acceptance he radiated (in shadow, sometimes, but he bore no fear to show them – because I’d never felt as close to him as I did while flying.
I used to write to him only from airplanes and mountains summits. My want sometimes to fly without condition of a safe landing – something up to yesterday I’d not done but in a figurative or metaphorical sense – comes from the effects of his suicide on me, and my occasionally sincere wish to die – so these places seemed only fitting to correspond with him. Even as I write about him now, I am high up in a predatory tree above Santa Elena, Costa Rica.
This root system grew from the seeds in monkey shit which sat on a branch, and sought to reach the earth. Once they did, they spread in spirals and tentacles everywhere they could, cutting off nutrients to the host tree. They suffocated and killed it off. The host tree decomposed, leaving a hollow web of vinebranches as a tunnel to the stars. At least, to the forest canopy, which now serves as a ladder for tourists and locals in the know alike to carve dates and names into predation. The years that pass will make their knived memories all the broader.
My memories of Heeth travel with me everywhere, as dows my love for writing and my tendency to steal pens, such as the one I’m writing with now. I’ve no concern that he will disappear from me as others have, and do, in pursuit of their own paths. 2001 was ten years ago, and came just when we needed it. Life had been abundant before, and so we treasured it afterward, learning that while we will never have that innocence back, it is still within us to some degree, postnaiveté, and formed who we are. Who I am. Today.
From the village a chorus sings alacrity. A community in Sundayunison. They echo in the mountains and the treetops. I know this because I am here in them, and listening. Perhaps one day I will join them, the people in the villages and cities, to dance and sing and be a part of something significant, to learn and embrace and let it go, let it be what it is when it is and accept life as it is – accept myself as I am with room to grow, and grant the same to others.
Perhaps today is the day.
Or maybe tomorrow.
Clouds settle onto the forest, giving it its name. To the west, the Nicoya Gulf carries surfers back to shore in humility or glory, and lets others rest or run from their lives and fears. Or to them.
I love you, brother. Come fly with me.