Living on the Edge by Gerri Brousseau

     At one time, not so long ago, even thought it sometimes seems a lifetime ago, I was a skydiver.  Yes, I actually jumped out of perfectly good planes.  It all began when I was about 13 years old.  I can’t remember if I saw it on TV or in a movie, but I knew skydiving was something I had to try.  I buried the thoughts of such an adventure deep in the corners of my mind and forgot about it.  Then, one day, when I was much older, the possibility presented itself and the excitement of that type of extreme adventure took hold of my heart.  I tossed the idea around for a while until, when on vacation in Monterey, California, I decided to try it.  Nestled in the lovely farm land known as the Salinas Valley there is a tiny airport that boasts a skydiving operation called Skydive Monterey Bay.  I figured, what the heck, I’m on vacation … you only live once, right?  I’m going for it.  So, I took a ride out to the location and signed up to do a tandem skydive.

                What’s a tandem skydive?   This is when you are attached to the front of a professional skydiver.  I had to watch a safety video and sign all sorts of waivers because let’s face it, this could have the possibility of grave consequences.  Still, the excitement of the adventure was greater than my fear so I got suited up in a spandex type jump suit and harness.  Starting to feel the nerves, I immediately felt as if I had to run to the ladies room.  Back out in the hanger now, with my nerves in check, it was time to go.  I followed my instructor out on the tarmac to the plane with my nerves surfacing once again.  Climbing into the plane, I took my place sitting in front of my tandem master and soon the plane was taxing down the runway and climbing to altitude.  Now I have to tell you, I was really starting to have second thoughts.

   At altitude a green light in the rear of the plane began to flash and the  experienced jumpers on board pulled opened a hatch door in the side of the plane and began jumping out.  At this point, I started to have more than second thoughts.

Finally it was my turn.  My instructor had gotten me all attached and we inched toward the door.  Man, I was shaking in my shoes.  As we crept toward that open door my heart began to thunder, my mouth went dry, my palms began to sweat and I had this nearly uncontrollable urge to empty my bladder … again.  When we got to the door and I glanced out, the ground 3 miles below looked like tiny little colored squares … and I froze with fear.  “I don’t think I can do this,” I yelled to my instructor over the raging sound of the wind rushing past the opened door.  He was kind, but he was determined. “Sure you can,” he yelled back and leaning down, he placed his knee behind my knee and asserted a little pressure.  My knees buckled and I literally fell out of the plane.

                As soon as I was out that door, all the anxiety fled.  I was in awe of the vista below.  I must confess right here and now … it was one of the most amazing encounters one could ever experience.  You are falling at approximately 120 miles
per hour and the wind rushing past you is intense, and totally surreal.  The view was amazing.  Monterey Bay was to my right and the Sierra Nevada’s to my left.  It was the most incredible view of a truly beautiful landscape.

                We didn’t stay in what they call “free fall” for very long before the instructor
pulled the rip cord.  The parachute opened (Thank God) and I got that feeling of being yanked upward, but in actuality it is just that the parachute has slowed the fall.  This is one of the greatest feelings and probably over the course of my skydiving career, my favorite part of the sky dive.  I remember looking up at that huge multi-colored parachute flying above my head and thinking it was the most beautiful thing I could imagine ever seeing.  I found myself in a silent world being guided through the air in a  portion of the skydiving experience referred to as “under canopy” and I can tell you the wonder of this experience gives me some insight as to the joy and freedom birds feel as they glide overhead.  I now know why birds sing.

                We landed in the center of the “drop zone” (the area designated specifically for skydivers to land) with the ease of merely taking a step.  The entire experience was a complete adrenaline rush that I cannot even begin to explain.  I couldn’t stop smiling for about two weeks!  It was amazing and I was hooked.  If you have always wanted to try skydiving, I highly recommend it.  It is not for the faint of heart, but for those with an adventurous spirit.  What does this have to do with writing?  You have written a wonderful story … much like creeping toward the open door in the side of a perfectly good plane and then your fear takes over … but once you take the leap … and get out there you will have the best experience of your life.  So, remember you can’t enjoy the experience unless you get out of the plane.

About Susan Hanniford Crowley

Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, and Science Fiction Author
This entry was posted in Living on the Edge, romance, Skydiving and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Living on the Edge by Gerri Brousseau

  1. Casey Wyatt says:

    Geri, that is incredible! I thought wanting to learn to ride a horse was adventurous. All I can say is, wow!

    • Hi Casey,
      Yes it is amazing. Just a little known fact about a fellow writer … see you never know. I actually have 56 jumps (only 1 tandum and the remaining 55 solo). I retired from he sport now though. Still, one day it will make for an interesting chapter in a novel.

  2. Tracy Costa says:

    Holy sh*t! You jumped out of a plane?!?!? I am stunned. This is awesome. Your description is out of sight, I felt like it was me jumping out of that plane (only it wouldn’t be— I would be the girl huddled in the far edge of the plane crying).

    This is great.

    • Hi Tracy,
      Thanks! Maybe I’m getting the idea of this show vs tell business? I have to tell you the experience is awesome, but if you were crying they would NEVER force you to go. My instructor knew I would be fine, and I was. Once you are out that door, the experience is so amazing you sort of forget your fear.

  3. Katy Lee says:

    What a wonderful recap! Felt like I was there with you, every leap of the way.

    All right, so I have always wanted to do this. Back in college I really wanted to join the skydiving club, but I don’t like the feeling I get during free fall. I don’t like roller coasters or that tower they drop you at like a million stories off the ground. 🙂 Sure looks like a million to me. So I gave skydiving a second thought and decided to stay on the ground. So my question is, do you get that feeling like your stomach is in your throat when you free fall?

    • Gerri Brousseau says:

      Katy,
      You only get that stomach roll if you jump from a helicopter, not from a plane because the plane is moving away from you. It’s awesome. If you decide to try it, let me know. It’s awesome.

  4. OMG. This was a great read, Gerri. I was actually there with you (although I would NEVER willingly jump out of a plane). And you’re right. We have to just get out there. Be brave and let her fly. It is awesome.
    Thanks you, Gerri. This made my day.
    Kathye

  5. Gerri Brousseau says:

    Thanks Kathye … and your comment made mine!

  6. Jean says:

    Geri, that is quite a story. I still don’t want to try ! I do remember you invited me to watch, someplace in CT. I waited as your plane left the cow pasture and was out of sight. Straining my neck for what seemed like an hour but maybe only a few minutes….i finally saw a bunch of little dots falling from the sky. As the dots grew in size I was able to pick you out of the crowd and watch your landing. You got guts girl.

  7. Gerri Brousseau says:

    Thanks Jean. I remember that day. Fun times.

  8. Mary Vaughan says:

    Gerri, I was all the way in that plane with you! Luckily for me, thats the only way I would be there. It was alot of fun to read and I enjoyed learning a few new things about skydiving, I still can’t believe that you have 56 jumps to boot!! Awesome and good for you!

  9. Gerri Brousseau says:

    Thanks Mary,
    I’m happy you enjoyed the article and that I could give my readers the feeling of actually experiencing the thrill of a jump. Thanks for visiting Nights of Passion and expecially for commenting. Hope you will visit us again.

  10. Debralee Mede says:

    What an incredible experience. Thanks for sharing it. You have quite and adventurous spirit.

    Deb

    • Gerri Brousseau says:

      Yes Deb, it was quite an adventure and a total thrill. Thanks for stopping by to read the blog and for leaving a comment.

  11. Anita L says:

    Ger,

    As many times that i ask you about it, to tell me exactly how it feels and what made you try it i almost want to try it, but i agree with tracy. i would be the one huddled in the corner of the plane like her. if i ever did decide to try it, my eyes would be shut and i would definitely be holding someone. Kudos to you! You do make it sound interesting.

  12. Gerri Brousseau says:

    Thanks Anita. I think once you got out of the plane, you would be so in awe you would enjoy the jump. Thanks for stopping by Nights of Passion and for leaving a comment. We hope you will visit us again soon.

  13. Jennifer Iszkiewicz says:

    Loved it, Ger! Were you able to catch Bodhi with the gun in your hand? hahaha. 56 jumps is incredible – congrats to you for conquering your fear and grabbing life by the balls… Entering the world of publishing definitely requires nerves of steel and a willingness to take a chance on the unknown. Thanks for giving me that extra nudge towards the door!

  14. Gerri Brousseau says:

    Thanks Jennifer. Yeah … I like to think of the scene in Point Break when they jump. One with a chute and one with nothing but a gun. Great bit of skydiving and crazy scene. Loved it. You are quite welcome. If you ever need a little push, come see me and I’ll nudge you toward the door. Thanks for commenting.

  15. This is living life on the edge. Wish I had that sense of adventure, but alas, I am very grounded on terra firma. I give you credit for having this kind of courage, though. Awesome!

    • Gerri Brousseau says:

      Thanks Laurie. It seems I’m always drawn to adventure. I have done a bungi jump and roller blade (not that roller blading is that extreme). Thanks for commenting and we hope you will stop by at Nights of Passion again soon.

  16. Gail Ingis says:

    I don’t believe it Gerri, you don’t look like you would want to jump out of a plane. It one of the “things” that I have not done, and do not plan on doing anytime soon. Your recap was great, it was a wonderful flight being under your canopy with you. Very descriptive. Its all the excitement I need at the moment. Frankly, Gerri, I don’t find writing as scary as jumping out of a plane sounds.

    • Gerri Brousseau says:

      Thanks for commenting Gail. It’s not writing that scary, it’s getting your work out there and facing rejection that is. Jumping after that first time was not scary at all.

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