|Our six-way participants, 30 July 2011|
So I quickly changed my plans and drove down to Snohomish to meet my friend Linny (the other white-haired skydiver in the picture) and friends to make some jumps. This was my original schedule for today, and since I can't exactly switch, I've ended up with NO PLANS for the day, other than this early morning post.
The weather was the only thing that could have caused this change, because you can't skydive if you can't see the ground. Skydiving is required by the FAA to operate under visual flight rules (VFR), since you wouldn't want to climb up above the clouds and jump out of the plane only to find there is an aircraft that you couldn't see! And indeed, as I sit here in the early morning, I find that it's overcast and dark outside, no sunshine anywhere to be seen. I made the right choice. Yesterday was a spectacular day.
Within the space of five hours of jumping and packing, we made four skydives and I packed my own parachute three of those times. Once, we had to make a quick turnaround call, so I hired Tony, one of the Drop Zone's regular packers, to do it for me. It costs $6 and I told him that if I had a good opening I would give him another dollar. It was a beautiful opening, something I am still trying to perfect with my new canopy. Every single canopy has its own quirks, and this one wants to open, all right, so I need to slow that process down a bit. Tony's and Smart Guy's pack jobs do this, so I know it's possible.
I had budgeted enough money to make four jumps, so I was ready to leave by 2:30pm. As I was packing up after the last jump of the day, I managed to wrench my lower back in an ill-advised move. By the time I finished, I knew that I wouldn't have wanted to make another jump anyway. After taking some ibuprofen and spending a night feeling that lower back pain, I'm thinking it should be okay within another day or two, but it's sure not fun hobbling around moaning. I had just made four skydives without incident and then hurt myself packing! Sometimes life is funny that way.
I was really looking forward to swimming yesterday, since the pool is now closed for two weeks for its regular maintenance. I'll probably try to find an alternate place for at least one swim, since the activity has become a very relaxing and contemplative complement to my other physical pursuits. There's something so soothing about the breathing and stroking, and before a few minutes has passed, I enter a zone of peacefulness that nothing else provides. I have taught myself to breathe on alternate sides, with three strokes in between, in order to provide symmetry to the workout. My arms are usually a little sore after swimming for a half hour, and my legs feel worked out in a different way. When I climb out of the pool and lose the buoyancy of the water, I feel heavy and need a moment to readjust to land.
I started swimming in Florida in February when I visited Norma Jean and kept it up as a way to feel connected to her. It's been a real surprise that I have learned to enjoy it so much. Between hiking with the Senior Trailblazers, skydiving on the weekends, and swimming and taking aerobic classes at the Y, I guess you might say I'm a rather active Senior. The saying that you need to "use it or lose it" is becoming more and more evident as I age. Taking time off from exercise is not something I want to do, and this annoying pain in my back is reminding me to take it easy today so I can begin the week in good shape.
Retirement for me is only retiring from the working world, certainly not retiring from working out, or being engaged in life. My blogging life fulfills a need, too: I would certainly miss it if I stopped, not to mention missing all my friends, whose comments and blogs provide me with a community of like-minded companions. You are an essential part of my life. Thank you for being there.