For me this past week, returning to Frontier was an emotional state of coming home. Arriving with a different mindset than from my last abrupt departure of flight. A walk down memory lane, a throw back to both the familiar and the pain, the gifts given to me and to my family of friends, both new and old. I’ve jumped at many a drop zone, savouring the freedom of flight as I know it, belly to earth, relative to the wind and others. Breathing in the joys of canopy flight. Graceful and grateful in my safe return to earth.
Like a slew of different lovers, each airport has its own seductive qualities, enticing me with its vast breadth of skills, knowledge, provocative lifts to altitude and playful tempestuous political philanderings. A love / hate relationship at times, but nonetheless, a necessary deliverance to my addiction for altitude and flight. A drop zone is a subculture. Frontier happens to be a club rather than a business per se. Member run and lovingly nurtured by those inclined to steer the course, for yet another year in its life.
Why would we return now, you might ask? For this sole reason: Frontierfest, an annual Boogie and odyssey — a time for vacation time accrued to be spent by many, with the return of the Twin Otter, the spaceship with a 21 jumper lift capacity. Our last time jumping here in Newfane New York? In 2005: slaDE~ and I headed west towards the Rocky Mountains (Calgary) and this happened to coincide with the time when our beloved Termin-Otter also left, for bluer skies and greener financial pastures. Since then, Frontier has been a Cessna 180 drop zone, (5 jumpers maximum) losing many of the familiar jumpers addicted to the convenience, lift capacity and efficiency of a twin engine plane.
So as you can imagine, the Otter would draw many a jumper from the woodwork. A family reunion of sorts. It was glorious and spectacular. As if time had stood still, I slipped on my packing hat and spent many an hour enveloped in canopy and lines, swaddled by the love of my trade. A packing fool I became, with a twist. I made the time to jump and coach and fly with my friends, opting out of the camera-wielding role of videographer. What a shift!
I truly believe that Flight is a gift, a tool, a passion and an attitude. I feel so blessed to soar from the wings of an aircraft with my own ability to cloud surf and soar. It’s an incredible blessing that I am so grateful to gift myself each leap into the unknown.
Flight indeed is an attitude. Here’s a perfect true story that is bound to tug at your heartstrings, penned by the author Roger Dean Kiser Senior (Roger is the little orphan boy in the story who carries his friend through the wind.).
Once upon a time there was a little boy who was raised in a orphanage. The little boy had always wished that he could fly like a bird. It was very difficult for him to understand why he could not fly. There were birds at the zoo that were much bigger than he, and they could fly. “Why can’t I?” he thought. “Is there something wrong with me?” he wondered.
There was another little boy who was crippled. He had always wished that he could walk and run like other little boys and girls. “Why can’t I be like them?” he thought.
One day the little orphan boy who had wanted to fly like a bird ran away from the orphanage. He came upon a park where he saw the little boy who could not walk or run playing in the sandbox.
He ran over to the little boy and asked him if he had ever wanted to fly like a bird.
“No,” said the little boy who could not walk or run. “But I have wondered what it would be like to walk and run like other boys and girls.”
“That is very sad.” said the little boy who wanted to fly. “Do you think we could be friends?” he said to the little boy in the sandbox. “Sure.” said the little boy.
The two little boys played for hours. They made sand castles and made really funny sounds with their mouths. Sounds which made them laugh real hard. Then the little boy’s father came with a wheelchair to pick up his son. The little boy who had always wanted to fly ran over to the boy’s father and whispered something into his ear.
“That would be OK,” said the man.
The little boy who had always wanted to fly like a bird ran over to his new friend and said, “You are my only friend and I wish that there was something that I could do to make you walk and run like other little boys and girls. But I can’t. But there is something that I can do for you.” The little orphan boy turned around and told his new friend to slide up onto his back. He then began to run across the grass. Faster and faster he ran, carrying the little crippled boy on his back. Faster and harder he ran across the park. Harder and harder he made his legs travel.
Soon the wind just whistled across the two little boys’ faces. The little boy’s father began to cry as he watched his beautiful little crippled son flapping his arms up and down in the wind, all the while yelling at the top of his voice,
“I’M FLYING, DADDY. I’M FLYING!”
~ Roger Dean Kiser, Sr., Florida