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Life is Like a Parachute Jump…

by Stephen McNallen

This article is adapted from “Drop Zone Musings,” which I wrote for the Winter 1992 issue of the Asatru Folk Assembly’s journal, The Runestone.

“Parachuting should be no big deal, right? After all, the ground is just one step away…”

Life is like a parachute jump.

The static line that connects us to the plane is our umbilical cord. We jump – fall away – our canopy opens and we begin to descend – clearing the aircraft, losing altitude…dying a little, even at the moment we are born. Like a leaf cut loose from the branches of the mighty World Tree, we flutter inexorably toward the Well of Wyrd, toward the past – “that-which-has-become” – below.

Absorbed in the present, we hardly notice that we are falling. The ground is still a long, long way off and the delight of the journey is the only thing on our minds. Carefree, youth-like, we toggle our canopy this way and that, enjoying the view, spiraling left and right for the sheer pleasure of it. Time seems frozen; this moment, eternal.

We are shocked when we realize that, indeed, the ground is getting closer. Why, we left the security of the airplane only a moment ago! The picture has changed, the roads and houses look larger, and details we couldn’t see before are now quite clear. Our perspective has somehow shifted – and so have our priorities. While we still take pleasure in the ride, we need to plan just where and how we intend to land.

Impact now concerns us. For the parachutist, this means choosing the spot where we’ll touch the ground. For we who are falling through life, it’s time to think about what our journey has meant, and how the world will be a different place for our having been in it.

If we have made a good jump, done everything right, and used some of the foresight given us by our ancestors, we should hit on or near our target. As our long flutter from the branches of the World Tree nears its end, we sense…the Mystery…the holy significance of our impending down-going into the Well.

When the moment comes, we touch the waters gracefully, gently, lovingly, with wits sharp and courage whole, knowing we did our best.

Bundling up our chute in our arms, we spy a building down at the end of the drop zone and begin trudging toward it. Time to rest now, perhaps to feast and drink with our fellows in the club run by the gray-bearded, One-Eyed Jumpmaster…the one with ravens on his shoulders…until the call comes to board our aircraft and make the next leap into manifestation.

C-130 rolling down the strip…

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