Skydiving Over Lake Taupo

By: Valeri Lohrman
From fifteen thousand feet I saw bucket lists floating.
I saw North Island volcano, I saw the largest lake
in New Zealand. I breathed masked oxygen and watched
a girl and her tandem person fall out of the plane,
sitting next to me, then suddenly plunging toward earth.
Soon I was as well. The air rushed through the cavities
of my face like a pressure washer through rotted wood,
and I swore that the freefall force would cause tree fall,
a deceased maple attached to a parachute. My tandem
instructor taps on me to let go of the ropes and let my
arms fly free, but I didn’t realize and so I plunged as
Icarus, if Icarus had been a chicken. When I did let go,
we were at the parachute release altitude, and suddenly
all became slow. I talked to my tandem person, a normal
conversation while thousands of feet in the air. It felt more
like I was at home on my computer, looking at aerial views
on Google Maps than it felt like I was skydiving. Nothing
was between me and the roofs of Taupo houses, the tops
of scalps, low-flying birds. I bent my legs up to prepare for
landing, and just like that, I was sitting on the grass.
Unclasped, walking on the ground I’d just seen from far above,
I caught a bucket list with my teeth and I took a bite. A world
around me, what a place to dive in.

***
valeri lohrman is a senior Creative Writing major and songwriter
from southern New Jersey. Traveling and writing about places are what
make up the left centricle of her heart. She travelled to New Zealand for her
GO trip, and it changed her life.

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