Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Making everything better
Life is constantly changing. Most of the time it's gradual...you get a haircut, start taking a night class, meet different people and then one day see a picture of yourself with your shiny new hair and shiny new friends and think, "Wow, things have really changed". But some moments change everything in an instant. My little flying community recently had one of those moments. There was a bad hang gliding accident on Saturday morning that shook us all. I am grateful I didn't witness it directly but just hearing what happened & imagining it still makes me feel sick to my stomach. And even though it involved a hang glider and not a paraglider we're still such a small tight-knit group that having something like this happen at my mountain makes this personal and even more devastating than hearing about it happening somewhere else. Luckily it's been raining every day since and looks like it will be for the rest of the week, so having to even think about flying right now isn't something we have to deal with. My heart is warmed by comments made by pilots new & experienced, talking about how we're going to look out for each other more and put aside differences like what flying school or club you may be affiliated with or what type of glider you fly. No one ever wants anything bad to happen to those they share the air with, whether a close friend or mere acquaintance. As each day passes, it's a little easier to look forward and concentrate on what we can do better instead of dwelling on the nightmare of this unfortunate accident. Each day it's a little easier to look forward to a new direction in paragliding...teaching and sharing more, and rebuilding our sport from the ground up. You could even say we have a chance to renovate our sport. As much as we pride ourselves on being "free flyers" and "free" of all the rules & regulations present in other forms of aviation, I think a lot of what we do is because "it's how it's always been done". And as for a lot of things in life, that doesn't always mean it's the best way. I'm terribly guilty of this myself, and coincidentally have been working on changing these beliefs in my personal life...changing things I've done a certain way without ever questioning them. So now I'm waiting for the time I can be excited about flying again, and will start to build a better paragliding (& hang gliding) sport along with my fellow feathered friends. Soon I will be excited once again to experience the thrill of sharing the joy I get from flying with excited passengers on tandems, and to share my knowledge with pilots looking to improve themselves. Paragliding has completely shaped my life as I know it - I'm who I am today because of it - and I don't want that to change. I believe life is about finding what makes you happy, and despite everything, paragliding is that thing for me. I hope to share it with others again soon and even bring a little more happiness into their lives.