Tuesday, 23 October 2007

The magic of Flying




"For once man has tasted flight he will forever walk the earth
with eyes turned skywards.
For there he has been and there he longs to return."
Leonardo Da Vinci

A few days ago we were driving along the sea front, looking at the other dogs on the beach and the considerable surf (rare on this south coast of Cornwall) when suddenly I said – ‘Look!’

There in front of us was a huge balloon that turned out to be a paraglider. It rose up against the cliffs, then drifted out to sea and along the beach before rising up again.

What I hadn’t realised was that the large wing or balloon is controlled by a person sitting in a harness, using myriad of rainbow coloured threads, like a magical spider’s web. The paraglider monitored the strings with his hands, thereby moving himself up and down, to the side or out over the water, and twisted his whole body from side to side as he did so, like a motorcyclist going round a bend.

Watching him manoeuvre was awe inspiring. We stood and watched his skill and dexterity in silence as he careered near the cliff, then bounced off at the last moment.

Himself finally tore himself away and said, “that’s got to be the best thing ever. A mix between sailing and flying. If I was younger, I’d have a go.”

Thankfully (for my nerves), he’s too old. But he can still fly in his head, and his heart. And he does.

19 comments:

rilly super said...

crikey, looks a bit scary to me. Around these parts people like to jump off Sutton Bank attached to one of those things. It just seems like suicide for people who haven't quite made their mind up to me, sigh

Flowerpot said...

hello Rilly - so you're still around! Watching this fellow last week was quite inspiring - I wouldn't do it myself of course, but he did seem to be in control!

laurie said...

it does look scary.

my mother jumped out of a plane the day before her 80th birthday.

i did not inherit those fearless genes.

but i agree it looks beautiful. (From the ground.)

Em said...

That's something I can imagine my partner doing, she's been in all sorts of aeroplanes, in gliders and also jumped out of them.

Aoj & The Lurchers said...

I do not possess any adrenalin genes but I do have to say that this is something I wouldn't mind having a go at - although I think I'd rather piggy-back someone than go solo!

Rebecca Taunton said...

Not something I'd like to try, but definately wonderful to watch. Paragliders are so graceful.

Flowerpot said...

laurie - I haven't inherited those brave genes either but most impressed by yuor mother.

Em - good for your partner. No way I'd even consider such a thing.

AOJ - this didnt look too scary as he wasn't nearly as high up in the sky as the fellow in this picture. Even so....

Flowerpot said...

RT - I agree. It was stunning to see. Wish you#d had your camera there!

debio said...

So sure I wouldn't do that!

So grateful for the LdV quote can relate to that. Haven't flown now for more than three years but miss it desperately......it's the silence - and other things too.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

When I was younger I always thought that I'd like to skydive. I'm afraid of heights and falling is one of my biggest fears. Go figure.

I mentioned this to my husband very early in our courtship, maybe hoping he'd go along for the ride. He looked at me oddly and said "Why would anyone jump out of a perfectly good airplane?"

I had no answer for that. So I never did.

Suzie Sews said...

That is an amazing picture...
Suzie Sews

BreadBox said...

Absolutely, give thanks that he is too old and you don't need to watch him up there!

Flowerpot said...

debio - does that mean you've flown on a professional basis? Sounds intriguing. I shuold imagine it is beautifully quiet up there.

corresopndent - no I can't figure that out either. I have vertigo that increases/worsens with age. Great quote from your husband!

Suzie - glad you enjoyed it!

Breadbox - oh I do, I do!!!

Akelamalu said...

I remember watching our youngest son paragliding on holiday a few years ago. I wouldn't dare have a go, I don't like heights, and MWM would have loved to have tried it but you had to land in the sea and he can't swim. We got to live it through our baby!

Flowerpot said...

I would have been terrified watching one of my children do it, Ak!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

I would only do if I were sitting on Brad Pitt's lap.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Looks very scary to me! I'll just watch.

Crystal xx

debio said...

Have a UK Private Pilot's Licence for helicopters, flowerpot.

Was the single, most challenging thing I've ever done - apart from parenthood, perhaps, though in a different way.

Flying solo is an indescribable experience - just me, the machine and the world above and below. I miss it.

Flowerpot said...

wakeup - ah, now there's a thought. Suddenly my vertigo's disappearing..

crystal - you and me too! I thought you were on holiday?!

debio - fascinating, about the PPL. A friend of mine in London got hers and trained as a commercial pilot but didnt fly solo. That must be incredible.