This one’s overdue.
In March of this year, I was in Cape Town. A couple of my friends had called me up to let me know they were going skydiving. This was something I had wanted to do for a while but the date did not fit into my schedule. I was surprised at the fact that I wasn’t antsy about it not fitting into my schedule. A weird sense of calm had overtaken me. If it was meant to be , it would be.
Funny enough, they weren’t able to go that week because of the weather conditions and had re-scheduled for the following week and had even booked me a spot. I smiled..maybe it was meant to be. They picked me up that Saturday and we drove about an hour out. Being about ten minutes away from the place – we received a phone call from them saying the weather conditions in that area were not suitable for the dive. Once again, I just looked out my window and figured : If it was meant to be – it would. My friends were pretty determined and searched up other companies close by. Sure enough, they found one half an hour further and booked our six spots.
I don’t know why but I wasn’t even scared. Before I went scuba diving, I was pretty sure I was about to die. Before I climbed Kili, I was getting serious cold feet but jumping out of a plane..just didn’t scare me and I couldn’t figure out why.
We arrived and got explained everything. I saw a guy wearing a T-shirt that said “Siyashova” on it. I had read about 3 guys who had biked from Cape Town to Cairo and figured this guy supported their cause and I asked him about it. He was actually one of the 3 who had biked from one end of Africa to the other – Mad Respect Ria!
We all got ready and I walked into the plane. It was a small plane that fit 6 people in. We flew up into the skies and had the beautiful Capetonian scenery surround us. I was totally mesmerized by it …but still no fear. Maybe, it was the fact that I was going as a tandem jump – attached to a professional. But still, I figured if the parachute doesn’t open – it doesn’t open.
Even as we forced ourselves outside the airplane , it was exhilarating – but no fear. Even when we were falling…I was watching the ground as it got closer and closer but I was not afraid. It scared me a little how calm I was about it all. I wondered what was wrong with me. But in hindsight, I think I had faith. Faith that it was going to be ok.
That day, I chose to jump out of a plane. Sometimes, we are forced to jump in life. We don’t know what awaits us a lot of the time. We scramble for a rope,for some kind of control , maybe even a constant. Yet, we are not always given that constant and scrambling for it leads to anger, resentment, and even rage. Jumping and being at peace are a difficult combination. But it is necessary. It reminds me of an Arabic term : “Tawakkul”. Roughly defined – it means having full faith in God and his plan. I’m not saying, sit and do nothing. I’m saying, try your hardest to get to where you want but sometimes things ARE out of your control. Know that you tried your best. If it is meant to be – it shall be. And if it’s not meant to be – it shall not be. Maybe something better is waiting!
When you are forced to make that jump, try and ENJOY the Freefall, however insane it may seem.
I once read something along the lines of this :” Some of us go through therapy , the rest of us climb mountains.” I figure that could mean one of two things
1) We actually have to climb the mountains(problems) of our lives alone vs with the help of a therapist to decipher our innermost thoughts or
2) Climbing mountains are our therapy.
I’m not sure which the writer intended but ‘d like to think it was the second one just cause it allows for some creativity. Personally, I find literally climbing mountains really therapeutic. I constantly find analogies within nature that pertain to real life that just keep me going. I know that there is even a Development Initiative right here in Cape Town called Beep ( beyond Expectations Environment Programme) where they take students every weekend on a hike through Table Mountain with the aim of showing them the natural beauty that surrounds them, their obligations to the environment and as an initiative to maybe get some local gardens growing and just teaching them about social issues. Nothing like climbing a real mountain to show you you can climb your very own!
I went hiking on Saturday – a hike they call Lion’s Head. It’s suppose to be beautiful and a hike I had to do before I left Cape Town and my stays are always unpredictable..so rather sooner than later :D. My friends and I got there around 3 pm after picking up a few snacks and by that I mean a banana and a bottle of water..in hindsight I should have gotten more. We drove up to a certain height and then parked our car. Half of the hike was a dirt road and mostly an upward walk. Along that walk you get to see Table Mountain and a whole mountain range around the peninsula. It was nice to know I could stop and look as I chose with nobody urging me on like at Kili.
Even though it’s absolutely gorgeous and I know that the minute I leave Cape Town I’ll miss these mountains and this Ocean, I have grown accustomed to it all and need to remind myself how beautiful it truly is. Along the way we met a woman from the UK and a man from Germany who were in the middle of installing a solar-powered project in Cape Town. It was exciting to know that green power is starting to spread across the globe and people are trying to make changes. My friends and I were the ones trying to get to the top of projects like these people and it was sort of a beacon of light for us..and we mentioned that and they replied by telling us they were the ones starting it but we would be the ones finishing it 😉
Soon we said our goodbyes and moved on and things started to get a little harder. It started becoming thinner ledges and more scrambling and rock climbing to get to the top. There were parts where you had to hold onto chains and climb up bars and ladders. Come to think of it – sounds a bit like an obstacle course..except its towering over Cape Town with more rock to catch you. Splendid. Kind of like life..at the beginning it’s a pretty easy road – you follow the path and if you fall you don’t fall that hard but as you go further – the ground under you shakes and if you fall – you fall hard – then again though you’ve built yourself up to be pretty strong to be climbing those bars and ledges so you can pick yourself up – you’re not dead but heck..you’re stronger.
Something that was pretty sad – was the amount of litter up there. One of my friends is really into the environment and the first time he picked something up from the mountain, I though he was picking up a rock and putting it in his pocket. I found that kind of weird because a conservationist doesn’t always pick things up from their natural environment ..as time went on he picked up more and more ..by the end of the hike his bag was full of plastic bottles and garbage. It’s pretty sad that people come up there for the nature and the beauty and leave it worse than when they went up there.
Things got rockier and amongst the rocks we saw three big trees growing out of the rocks. It was pretty amazing to see a plant grow in such dry conditions but was just proof that a life can survive under the harshest of situations and can grow and grow to a magnificent height..
As things got rockier..the path also seemed to disappear. There didn’t seem to be one right way to the top. Some of my friends went right ..others went left and some went straight. Whichever route we took – we ended up converging at one point – yet all at different times. Some of us scrambling..others climbing and some of us just taking huge steps against gravity. It made me think how there was no right way to the top. Some routes were hard , others were harder but with patience and perseverance we would all eventually get to the top. Some of us may struggle more as some paths are harder but then when more paths come – they seem easier because they have seen worse..
As we got to the top – we all kind of split. It was a natural split and nothing against one another. We were all in awe of the beauty and went searching for our little spot at the top. I would think it was to contemplate but weirdly enough – I had nothing on my mind. I had absolutely nothing on my mind..which basically never happens but I made the most of it. There was a ledge that was jutting out that I kept eyeing. It seemed a bit daunting to go out and sit there but it was doable. I’ll admit I was a little bit of a chicken and asked someone else if they would do it. They did and soon I followed after them. It’s funny because it wasn’t like the ground under me was going to move and there was enough space for my foot so that I could step onto the ledge and so I guess I was afraid of my own instability and possibly losing balance or simply losing footing. It really does not surprise me then when we are afraid to take steps in life when the ground under us is unstable and completely unpredictable yet everyday we keep on walking…that is the human spirit.
Sitting on that ledge was pretty liberating but also a bit scary. Yet it was that hugeness factor that reminds me how small I am in comparison to the world which I always yearn for- and I got that.
We had heard that Lions head had a beautiful sunset but decided to head down. On our way down we realized we would catch the sunset if we were on the right side of the mountain at the right time. One side of the mountain faced the Ocean and the other didn’t and the path did go around the mountain. When the mountain did not face the water we skipped and jogged through it and when it faced it we tried to estimate if we would be back on this side in time for it. K I’ll stop with the suspense…we ended up catching the sunset and what a sunset it was …the sky surrounding the sun was orange and blue and as you scanned the sky to the other side there was pink and blue. we literally watched the sun sink into the water.
After that we still had time to make it to the bottom with enough light but also caught a glimpse of beautiful Cape Town by night.