Three weeks and one day ago I jumped out of an airplane.
It was my dad’s idea. Loren and I were visiting my parents over the holidays last year, and one evening, at some point over dinner, I asked my dad what he wanted to do for his birthday, and without missing a beat, he answered: jump out of airplane.
I couldn’t get the brussel sprout down fast enough.
Me: “I’ll go!”
Loren: “I’ll go!”
Mom: “I’ll stay on the ground and take the pictures!”
Now, when your father, who’s “almost seventy-five years old and can do whatever the f*ck he wants,” says he wants to skydive for his birthday, you a) deliver; and b) don’t wait eight months. Lets just say two outta three ain’t bad.
Eight months later, this happened.
When you’re out sailing for a month, you end up with a lot of time on your hands. We’ve talked about a lot of things, and one thing we talked about the other day was regret. It’s not like either of us has an insurmountable pile, but we’re neither of us robots.
We’re human beings in the middle of our lives, and we’re the thinker, feeler, do-er types. We have some. One of mine is not being a writer. There’s a little hole in my soul that writing fills that feels like a partially healed stitched wound. It flares up–it bleeds and then stops, bruises, heals, nags, quiets. It’s not going to kill me, but it’ll never go away.
Most of the time it’s fine, but there are times of acute struggle. Times when I not only want more from language, but more from myself. The wanting to express the inexpressible is the expansiveness of the universe.
It’s what it feels like to fall from 14,000 feet without being in a THING. It’s wolves and orcas and all of the wheat. It’s everything wild. It’s feeling every cell but not knowing how to articulate the connections.
It’s also, I learned this week, Princess Louisa Inlet.
You access this inlet by boat or plane only, and after six hours (if you’re in a boat) up three arms, and across a set of “rapids,” which is a skinny, dog-legged, current-addled channel, you arrive in this fjord that is more beautiful than anything. Except maybe Yosemite. It’s a 6,000-foot high, glacial-topped mountain valley springing straight up from the 72-degree water, fed by various runoff and waterfalls, the biggest of which tumbles into a set of pools at the mouth of the canyon.
Being in that valley feels like being gnawed to life by a lion.