Sunday, February 27, 2011
Skydiving, swimming, and sunshine
Then my friend Jennifer, who jumps at Skydive Snohomish with me and Smart Guy and hasn't jumped for two months, is in Florida to attend a conference and joined me at Skydive City here in Zephyrhills for two skydives yesterday. The sun was almost too intense, the weather being more than five degrees warmer than normal and more humid. We were both sweating as we walked to the plane and went up into the cool, clear air at altitude. It was a wonderful day, and we made two fun skydives together. That's her on the right, me on the left in the above picture, coming back after our first jump.
The funny thing is, I was more apprehensive about the swimming activity, since it is not a very comfortable and well known pursuit, and skydiving tends to be much more familiar, with me having accumulated more than 65 hours of freefall time. I know it might seem odd to those who don't skydive (the vast majority of people), but I look forward to learning and remembering how to breathe, stroke, and exercise while in water as a new and exciting skill. It's so fascinating for me to watch Norma Jean and her morning companion, 80-year-old Midge, swim constantly for almost an hour without stopping. And I can continue this activity once I return home, since the YMCA has an Olympic sized pool.
If I had the wherewithal to maintain two residences, one in Bellingham and one in Zephyrhills, I might consider it to be close to Norma Jean and Skydive City during the winter months. But frankly, I'd miss the snowshoe trips with the Senior Trailblazers and my gym companions very much. Not to mention Smart Guy, because in no scenario in my mind do I see this being a place where he would be comfortable. So, perhaps I will come to visit Norma Jean for a couple weeks in the dark of winter and spend time swimming with her, sharing together, and making a few skydives, just to keep my knees in the breeze. That makes sense, doesn't it?
I've been here in Florida for ten days now, and it is amazing to me how my life in Bellingham has slipped into the background. While the sun shines here and I sit in air-conditioned comfort in Zephyrhills, the wind blows and sub-freezing temperatures in Bellingham keep Smart Guy inside and the birds eating us out of house and home. I have another ten days here. I plan to enjoy it all to the max, and once I head back to Washington state and we circle Seattle's Space Needle in the airplane, this place with all its warmth and sun will recede and become a cherished memory.
Norma Jean has not yet found a new dog, although she has been looking. She wants to rescue a chihuahua or two on her way to wholeness. We will have accomplished that before I leave, I hope. Then I will be joining her and the rest of my family in Texas for a week at the end of March so that the rest of the family can reach closure about Pete's passing and mark the shift in the family dynamics. Little Lexie will also meet her Texas relatives, too. It's a full time in my life and in the life of all the Stewarts.