Monday, August 23, 2010

Falling Out Of The Sky

It may happen that if you are around Mile Marker 17 on the Overseas Highway and you look up, you might see this.My wife and I were heading into Key West and we stopped, as we frequently do to walk the dog at the Bat Tower on Sugarloaf. To get there you turn north on an unmarked road next to the aircraft parked near the lodge. It's an old single engined plane, decommissioned and used to advertise the Sugarloaf Airport, a single runway airfield that also offers one the opportunity to jump out of a plane far above the earth. Simple aircraft have the ability to enchant us as we stand anchored to the ground, but people dangling and floating have the capacity to make us stand and stare slack jawed. I have no desire to try parachuting myself though when one looks at the website advertising Sky Dive Key West: it is possible for even someone as firmly grounded in the dirt as myself to see why people do this craziness: There are many more such pictures at their website, where a mere $250 can get you doing the same thing. Rather them than me, thanks:I have watched people indulge themselves in this form of flight and for whatever reason one seems to feel the need to dangle with one's legs wide apart.It just seems so unprotected.
And so it goes whirling and twirling silently to the ground, like an autumnal leaf.
There is an ample meadow for landing nearby, the casuarina trees are just foreshortened by the camera. This is the headquarters of the operation, fully equipped with a splendid hammock, possibly to rest up after the exertions of flight. It is hard to imagine but just a few hundred years ago the thought of being to fly, literally as free as a bird was an impossible dream. And here they are reduced once again to mere mortals like the rest of us.Last year I wrote an essay about the airfield here, a place I find charming and evocative: and I also wrote an essay about the Bat Tower mentioned earlier. a place that crops up from time to time in these essays as I like to walk Cheyenne around there.