Soar

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Over The Edge”. If you would like to purchase a copy please use the contact instructions at the bottom of the page.

When I was a kid in the 1970s hang gliding was a pretty popular activity for anyone who had a mountain to launch from. I would stand on the edge of a cliff with my jacket held open so that I could feel the pull of the breeze. The sensation would always give me butterflies in my stomach. At some point I began to wonder if those butterflies came from breeze or the fact that was close to the edge. Not that I was ever really all that close. But I thought that I was. I would envision myself strapped to what was basically a giant kite gracefully floating on the wind as I soared down to the river. I would scour the library for books on flying and learned that as the warmer air radiated up from the canyon that it could take me higher and that it was possible to go even farther it you could surf the wind. There was even an unfulfilled plan to scavenge lumber and the black plastic sheets used in gardens to build a glider. Those plans were foiled when I couldn’t find enough straight nails to complete the build. I was about eight years old and the hardware store was too far away for my bicycle to get me there and back before my parents got home and so the glider remained as sketch on my school homework paper.

Today I still stand on the edge of the canyon and imagine that I’m soaring through the New River Gorge with the wind in my face. We have better options than a giant kite too. Power parachutes and GPS navigation via a pocket sized computer with hundreds (if not thousands) of times the computing power that NASA used to go to moon. And, the invention of the wingsuit proved that maybe an eight year old boy standing on the edge of a cliff with his jacket open wasn’t so far off base after all.

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