If the morning skies are red, it is because clear skies to the east permit the sun to light the undersides of moisture-bearing clouds coming in from the west. Conversely, in order to see red clouds in the evening, sunlight must have a clear path from the west in order to illuminate moisture-bearing clouds moving off to the east.This past week has been filled with introspection, probably because of the change in seasons and the constant monitoring of the weekend weather to decide if I can get another day of skydiving in before the weather closes that avenue until spring. In Boulder, I could jump all year round, but here, it is entirely seasonal because of the low clouds and rain that accompany us during the fall and winter months. I really don't mind. If I still lived in Boulder, I would probably make many more jumps but be unable to extricate myself long enough to find out what other activities I might want to explore.
I am much more active since I moved to Bellingham and discovered my hiking group. Last Thursday we had an absolutely beautiful blue-sky day. We went to the Baker Lake area to climb up to a lookout cabin in order to take in the glorious 360-degree views. When we were there two weeks ago, the area was socked in with fog and rain.
Before I began jumping in late 1990, I was an avid backcountry skier and climbed many of the fourteeners in Colorado. All that fell by the wayside once I discovered the thrill of skydiving. The friends I had known for decades grew weary of me telling them about it and gradually I only hung out with fellow skydivers. It's that kind of sport for many -- not everybody, though. I would wake up on a weekend morning and dash to the window to see if it looked at all possible to skydive. I'd jump in my car and drive fifty minutes to the Drop Zone if there was any possibility at all, since I was afraid my friends would be there having the time of their life, and I would be missing out!
But my Smart Guy once told me that it's not possible to have a hundred jumps forever, if you keep skydiving. And he is right. With more than four thousand now, the thrill I had back then is gone, but the habit and excitement of the familiar feeling of freefall keep me coming back. I also enjoy the friends I've made at the Snohomish Drop Zone and look forward to the feeling of simple play I have when I'm with them.
There is no natural physical cutoff time to stop skydiving. It's more a sense of when your body no longer can do all that packing and hanging on the outside of airplanes and flying your canopy to the ground once you open it. I have an acquaintance in California who I've jumped with over the years who is turning eighty next month. He plans to attempt to make eighty jumps that day, with the help of a whole bunch of friends, two airplanes, and lots of support staff. But he's in incredible shape and jumps in California year round. I don't have any desire to try such a thing, since my focus is turning away from skydiving into the next phase of life.
The same day that I took that picture, I happened to run into at least six different people on the street who I have met in various ways here in Bellingham. As I was walking back to the bus to head home, a feeling of belonging right here, right now, caused my heart to swell with happiness. This is where I was headed when I left Boulder, looking for a new home. I've found it, and everything is in its proper place.