If not now, when?

One American woman. Twenty acres and a 1650 farmhouse in Tuscany. Random introspection and hilarity, depending on the day.

18 October 2005

Scare of the Day: Jump off the Big Rock

This is my answer, more simple perhaps, to trying to not live life in a rut. To, as the magnet on my refrigerator tells me, "Do One Thing Every Day that Scares You". Today's edition is brought to you 7 weeks after it actually happened, but it remains one of the best memories of all my travels, perhaps ever, and definitely this past summer - with scant moments of freedom to savor. I share it now, in play-by-play fashion as if it were happening to you (because they say referring to yourself in the third person is a sign of insanity?)

Today's Scare of the Day: Jump off the Big Rock.

Because it's there, beckoning to you. Because you watch UBlend do it and not kill himself. Because the lifeguard says that despite the 25-30 foot height of the rock, the water there is more than 7 meters deep with no rocks. Because it's begging to push you out of your comfort zone. Because you are scared out of your mind of heights, but know that ... if you don't ... you'll not be able to forgive yourself. Because you're just a little bit nuts, and you like it that way; you'll try anything ... once. You've got a rep to uphold.

Walk out onto the jagged surface in borrowed shorts and a tanktop. Do it with your agile, wonderful, monkey-like friend who is willing to hold your hand and help you climb over the fence and wait until you get your footing, then scramble back over in time to take a picture of you in all your knee-knocking glory.

Stand for a minute trying to make your legs stop shaking. Take a deep breath. Look at the Ligurian Sea below. Will yourself to calm down. Glance, teeth clenched, over your shoulder for the 'before' picture.

Laugh, slightly panicked, when UBlend tells you that his camera battery is dying. It's now or never, you HAVE to have a photo of it, and you're NOT doing it again.

Three. Two. One.

A force you didn't remember that you had in you jumps. And your mind can do nothing but fall. It's empty. The brain fails to remember the all-important (ONLY) advice you were given before jumping: Arms and legs STRAIGHT DOWN to break the surface of the water.

Gravity takes over and (ahem) the heaviest and broadest part of you (I think this is self-explanatory from the photo) is what you actually hit the surface with. Onlookers will describe it as a 'big splash'. A loosely modified cannonball, to use childhood parlance.

Underwater, disbelieving. The wind is knocked out of you, as you come to the surface, gasping a bit ... part from the shock of the impact, part from the chill of the water even on a late August day.

And you think - just for a moment - that it would be a poetic end to the story to now be munched upon by a shark or stung by a killer jellyfish - something random, after having had the courage to get this far, and so you don't lounge in the water ... focus on swimming back around the point, getting to the rope and up to the steps on the rocks. You giggle out loud.

"Una volta e' suficiente!" you yell up to the lifeguard, victoriously. (Once is enough).

And so it is. But you climb out of the water (and it is NOT a pretty picture): wet, triumphant, out of breath: panting, partly from the sheer terror of it all and giggling at the fact that you actually DID IT.

And, you have an unexpected souvenir: as the gargantuan (and I do mean GARGANTUAN) purplish burgundy bruises start to blossom all across your behind and thighs for the next 24-48-72 hours, as it aches every time you sit or shift in bed, you remember, and you giggle again. It was worth it.


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