“One day I will find t…


“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
― Jack Kerouac, Dharma Bums

I have two gifts that come to mind upon seeing this quote.  These are gifts of mine, of course.  On is my gift of gab and one is my way with words.  Now while I had to beg borrow and steal popular idioms and phrases to convey this, I think I speak for myself and almost everyone around me when I say, if there is anything that is evident it’s that I like to talk and I like to write.  And when I can’t seem to do one, I usually do the other.  I started writing poetry, and I think I constructed a style for myself in which words were numerous and sentences were long and descriptive.  What I mean by all this is one day I hope to find the right words, the ones that can stand without much extra coloring.  That will be right.  Like this experiences and many other experiences, encounters, and relationships in life, I can’t seem to color them.  They stand quite right on their own.

“Go out on a limb, that’s where the fruit is”-Jimmy Carter

On Saturday, June 30th, I found my fruit while dangling over flowing rapids, bookended by two large cliff-sides.  I found my fruit in denial, confidence, in a simple jump.  It sounds silly, but extreme-sporting it for the weekend was one of the most  self-gratifying yet mindful and cleansing things I have ever done.  The drive up to The Last Resort, the location of my jumps, was not as antagonizing as I had presumed it to be.  Anticipation occurs far less intensely for me nowadays, but I was sure that I’d be a jittery wreck the whole way up the mountains.  I do remember arriving and thinking, “Leah, what is your problem?  Why are you doing this?  Are you ok?  You should just buy a box of Godiva for yourself when you get home.  Don’t do this.”  Well, clearly, something kicked in.

There was something about being here.  I know I’ve said it before, but truly, I remember looking out while on the bridge getting ready to do my first jump, the canyon swing, and thinking “For as terrifying as this looks, it is gorgeous.”  I had to remind myself that I was on the border of Nepal and Tibet and right below me was water and to my sides was the most beautiful scenery I had ever wwitnessed.  I went canyon jumping first.  It is the second largest canyon swing in the world at 160 meters.  The way it works is you essentially are harnessed in the lower body area and hold onto a rope as you just feet first for a 7 second long free-fall.  For those who think this is a short amount of time, it’s really not.  I remember being fairly frightened for this one, thinking to myself, “Dear God, I’m throwing my life away.”  But at the moment of jumping, I immediately knew it was quite the opposite feeling.  The drop really did feel long.  The beginning brought on more of an excited feeling but there was a second wave where I thought to myself, “Great Scott, I’m still falling!”  Then I felt my body twist and I began to swing with great distance back and forth in a canyon, hovered about rushing waters.  And the rest is history.

The canyon swing was done out of desire, but also out of fear of the bungee jump.  Well, after the swing all I could think about was going again.  This time, the bungee.  The price was right, I was still on a self-gratifying high, and there were some pretty cool Nepalis going in my group, I contemplated, and seriously in a blink of an eye, as they say, I found myself in the office, paying and thereafter, found myself back on the bridge, feeling much more at ease.

Although a bungee jump happens in an instant, it is an invincible instant.  I remember watching a guy jump before me and fumble a bit, jumping feet first rather than head first.  This doesn’t cause issues its just not the right way, and frankly, doesn’t look as cool on video.  My motivation may have come in the form of wanting to look cool on video, but I was okay with that.  I had my friends voice in my head, saying “Be like Pocahontas,” over and over.  At least girls out there, you know what scene I mean, she was one fierce nature lover.  So, I spread my arms and tried to be at peace.  I got situated, waved to the camera, yelled, “I’m gonna jump,” and took off.

I believe that taking risk is relative.  My risk may be very different than someone else’s.  Perhaps more extreme, or more mild.  Telling people deep, personal things about myself sometimes seems more extreme to me than my bungee jump in a lot of ways.  Relative to myself, though, this trip takes the risk cake.  I think jumping off a bridge, though frightening,  was a sort of physical representation of an entire journey, of a metaphorical leap of faith which I feel I had already taken.  There is much to learn in traveling.  Travel is like some sort of holy mystery-you know there is something working within you, but you cannot yet envision the day when the culmination of all your experience, excitements, joys, and fears hits you flat in the face and makes you realize that travel is the holy limb you once climbed out on, bungee jumping is that holy limb, and only one day will you be graced with a fruit.  You will taste it and be glad that you did not simply stay inching slowly up the tree’s trunk.