I find myself standing on the edge.
A huge ravine in front of me. The gap so big. I can barely see to the other side.
I’m thinking about jumping.
Because I know what I want is way over there. And no longer over here.
If I look down, I won’t do this. I won’t make the leap.
But I don’t need to look down. To know what’s down there.
Sharp fucking rocks.
I don’t need to see them with my eyes. I have scars to prove. That they wait for me down there.
They nearly killed me a couple of times.
But the only way those sharp rocks can kill me is if I let them. They can’t even cripple me enough to stay down there. Even if I do drop. I would have to choose to be crippled enough. I would have to choose to stay down there.
Knowing that. Makes the decision easy.
I walk back about 20 paces. To get a running start.
I don’t need to carefully measure my footsteps. Inches aren’t going to be the difference. Not in this great distance that I am going to jump. As Ray Bradbury put it, I’m going to “jump off this cliff, and build my wings on the way down.”
I’m either going to learn how to fly in the air, or I’m failing. And I’m falling.
So I absolutely must learn how to fly.
There were times before. When I took ‘leaps’. When I told myself I was flying.
But I tried to keep one foot on solid ground. I hesitated on launch. I kept looking back at my parachute. To make sure it was still there. To make sure it would still open.
You can’t fly doing any of that.
I never got enough distance away from the cliff from which I leapt.
So it wasn’t just one splat on the bottom for me. It was a bumpy ride down. I tumbled down the steep slope. Out of control. My head getting hit here. My gut getting punched there.
And after that final hit. The last thud at the bottom. I laid there a while. Bleeding and broken. Feeling badly for myself. Feeling sorry for myself. I laid there on my back. Looking up at everyone. At anyone. Thinking about all the people looking down at me.
One thing I realized as I look back. Is no matter how far I fell. No matter how far down I went. There were piles of people still looking up at me.
Not that the views of others should stop us or even propel us. But it is another myth about taking a leap dispelled. Another cause of hesitation. Removed.
Despite the fact that the distance seems impossible. I know people who have made this leap.
I know too many people who have done it. I know too many people on the other side.
And I applaud them for it. I am happy for them for it.
But they are no better or worse than me. They just took the leap. They just built wings.
Nothing logical says this jump will definitely work. But only safe things are accomplished with a logic backing.
For great things. It takes something else completely. Something else better than logic. Something so much stronger than logic.
It’s takes blind Belief. It takes a Knowing. Like a downhill runner in football, who knows he’s going to get that extra yard. Even after he takes a hit. Even after he takes two hits.
That Belief is what gets my legs going. I know I can do this. I know I will do this.
I start my run.
The edge gets closer.
My heart rate increases. From the excitement. From this fury. From this knowing.
I listen to my breath. Deep. Intense. Focused.
There is no fear. I have seen my death thousands of times by now. And if death is the worst thing staring at me, then so be it.
Steps closer still. I can see over the edge now. I have one more chance to pull up.
Once I get in the air. There is no turning back.
I glance back. There is a parachute behind me. One that will take me safely to the ground. If I can’t figure this out.
And I reach back and cut those strings. The parachute falls to the ground.
Because anything that isn’t going to help me fly, I don’t need to carry with me.
I cut those strings. Because if I can’t make this jump. If I can’t learn how to fly. I don’t want anything to help me to the bottom. I don’t want to land softly at the bottom.
I want to feel it. So that when I climb up and do this again. I will be smarter for it. I will want to succeed even more the next time. If that’s possible.
And I cut those strings. Because fuck it. It’s all or nothing.
Here we go.
Final step. With everything I have. I push off.
Time to build some wings.