One of the guys said that “skydiving is not death defying, it’s life affirming” and while I fully understand what he means, I’ve never been one to pull the wool over my own eyes, let alone charge people $200 to have wool puled over theirs.

We dropped through the toes of the misty sierra cloud with pellets of frozen moisture whacking our goggles and pummeling our skin at 180 MPH. The acceleration was familiar; the duration was not. I noticed three things: That every chemical in my body that reacts to fear or stress was flooding my brain in almost intolerable amounts, the ground, so far away and unchanging, seemed to be a constant no longer relevant to my equation, and breathing required an acute mental focus which I was temporarily unable to muster. Read More

Don’t get me wrong. Skydiving was a great experience, and I am completely happy with the people involved, but when you jump out of an airplane you’re counting on a very specific sequence of events going right with little deviation, and if I’d have thought about it more I might not have trusted complete strangers with my life, but I probably would have. I won’t say I did it for a magazine article either. But still, I did, and everything was fine.

A month after that I rolled out of bed, poured my coffee, sat down @ my laptop and commenced to read over my news feeds. And there it was. The guy was dead.

A South Lake Tahoe man died late yesterday afternoon, doing something he loved. 30-year-old Wes Harberts was killed in a skydiving accident in Minden, when his parachute failed. Read More

Augured into the ground like a fighter pilot. When you treat jumping out of a plane as something that can be “routine” then death is routine as well.

One thing is for certain, nothing is death defying. I certainly don’t think that since I was attached to that guy in that same situation that I somehow cheated death. There’s a way to go readily available weather you’re in a car, on the toilet or pulling a rip-cord when the grace that kept you here changes, and moves to take you away. A small force, like a leaf falling on one side of a fence or the other. And then you’re just gone.

Nothing to it really. And still, life is affirmed, even when someone dies.

-M