Leap of Faith

Posted by on Oct 10, 2010 in All things natural, Death and renewal | 0 comments

At first I look only at my toes as I position my bare feet close together on the rocks at the edge of the quarry cliff. Poised, I stare down for a brief unblinking moment at the flat face of the water far below. I am seventeen, trim, tan, immortal, and surrounded a crowd of college friends. Quickly I lift straight slim arms over my head, cross my thumbs and make my hands into the point of an arrow. Bending at the waist I push off, head first, eyes open, stretching my body long and taunt to become the arrow shaft, my feet the feathers. I fly straight and weightless though air that is hot as exploding firecrackers, always falling down toward the cold soundless black surface of the water.  As it rises rapidly to meet me I fill my lungs with air and shut my eyes against the expected blow. The dive is clean, but the water more shockingly cold than I anticipated. My reflexes slow slightly, but as a colder thermal layer overtakes me I bend the arrow’s tip upward, arch my back to slow my descent, and begin my resurrection. A third bitter cold thermal skims briefly over my torso before I start to rise. My arms reach up now, cupping water in my hand and pushing it forcefully behind me.  My mind reviews the whispered rumors of sunken horror in the unknown depths below me, making seconds seem to hang like hours as I point my body to the murky light of the surface. Suddenly my head smacks square into the warm sunlight and I suck the hot air in big gulping breaths. I arch my neck and see my friends far above. I smile, wave, and pretend indifference as I try to estimate the extent of my idiocy. Is the cliff thirty feet, twenty five? I am not good at guessing and the passing years have only magnified it in my mind.

I swim to the shore where the less reckless are gathered and shimmy up onto the rocks exhilarated. Still shivering, I find my feet and walk past them to scale the cliff and jump again. Once is never enough when death is being cheated.

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