Sensual Overload – The Snow Storm

Posted on October 31, 2011

Sensual Overload, Emotional Push Back.

The Snow Storm

I remember it so well, although it was so many years ago.
Falling, falling. Alone. Not caring. Floating. Being buffeted. My jump suit rattling. My eyes drinking it all in. My mind, mesmerized, whispering the one word, over and over:
It was in France, at a skydiving school at Bourges. I had begged the jump plane pilot to let me dive through a rain storm. I had done that. Several times. Now I wanted to free fall through a snow storm. He was a laconic, French, former military pilot, and he regarded me with a quiet, Gallic amusement. Nobody else was jumping. They were too busy drinking wine and partying. Trying to get off with the bar maid.
It was cold. Only this funny little Irishman, all the way from Ireland on his old motorbike, wanted to jump, desperately. He raised an eyebrow, dragging quietly on his ever present Gauloise cigarette, and I could see the humor in his eyes.
“Mais, pourquoi?”
Why? It was a good question. In answer, I shrugged, helplessly.
“Parce que…!”
Because! Because I wanted to! To see! To experience! To do it!
His weather beaten, slightly aloof, slightly cynical face studied mine. I knew what he could see.
Puppy eyes, begging him. PLEA-EA-EA-SE…!
There was the ghost of a smile in his eyes. He didn’t like many people. He had told me that, one late night, as we discussed Life and Death, God and Religion, until the small hours. He was an Atheist, with zero interest in any form of Theism. Until he met me.
I, on the other hand, was a serious, (admittedly ham fisted), Seeker of the Truth. Trying to keep an open mind. Trying to be aware of the arguments on all sides. Not a formal Christian, not a Muslim, not a Bhuddist, not an Atheist, not an Agnostic. But capable perhaps of seeing the strengths and merits of different arguments. Capable of explaining them. And I had brought a whole new thinking to his heart. For the first time in his life, he told me, he was prepared to at least seriously consider the possibility of there being a Supreme Being. He had thanked me for that, with a trace of wonder in his voice. “I have never met anybody like you”, he had said, and I had felt both honored and embarrassed. My perennial low self esteem had kicked in then, and I had hurriedly mocked my own credentials. He had taken it all in, that distant amusement back in his eyes.
And now I was begging him for a ride up into the skies. He chuckled quietly. Then he nodded. Okay…

* * * * *

It had been late in the day when we had finally taxied out.
Snowing heavily, with dark clouds, and a somber landscape. Few people were about. The Pilatus Porter aircraft, light as it was, fairly rocketed away from the runway, past snowflakes and doubts, and soon we were a small toy, a blip of nothingness, lost amongst the enormity of our tiny planet’s gaseous outer layers. The odd ray of blazing sun would suddenly burst through from above, blasting a billion tumbling snow flakes with life and radiance. But mostly there was a dull twilight, grey, off white, and dying.
And cold. Lots of cold. I shivered uncontrollably in the back of the large aircraft, ready at the door.
My mind, in its own, limited way, was red lining. There was so much to take in. So much to see. So much to admire. So much awe to feel, at our nothingness up there, surrounded by an alien landscape. And what of all we could NOT see? The forces at work? I shook my head, alive. So alive.
We reached our altitude, scraping along just below the clouds, in record time. For the run in, I had to hang out the door, and now the full force of cold blasted me into screaming numbness. He was looking around at me, obeying the pointed finger.
Left a bit… Steady… Steady…
Right a bit…
And then I was gone, and he, alone in his tiny box, rolled over hard, and plummeted to earth. His Gauloise cigarette hanging carelessly from his lip.

* * * * *

Billions of people. Great swarms of people. If every snow flake was a human being, was this the world’s population? I fell, thoughts and impressions rushing through me. It was astonishing how many snow flakes there were in the sky. How small I was, falling. For one brief instant, I was being given the opportunity to truly grasp how nothing I was. How insignificant.
Billions of ideas. Great swarms of ideas.

If every snow flake was an idea, was this the sum total of Universal knowledge? I fell on, thoughts and impressions rushing through me. There were great forces present, and those forces were warping the snowflakes. I had expected them all to be falling one way. I had thought, for some reason, that it would be like the rain. With luminescent drops appearing below me, and whistling UP past my falling body. Stinging my face. But the snow was different. To my astonishment I was seeing something I had never thought about. Unseen hands were warping the snow flakes into great, flowing, moving, twisting, formations of snow flakes. Ideas were being twisted around, moving against each other, flowing and fluttering, fighting for supremacy. A billion flakes in this course, would suddenly beat against an opposing column of flakes arriving from a different direction. The two forces would twist together, spiral, float out, fight, and intermingle. Yet another column would swoop in, and another, each billion flake arrival churning the whole up into further swirling streams and currents. And I, blessed fellow, was here to see it. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the Truth as it was playing out here: the massively powerful, unseen forces at work. I could see the results, the abrupt change in direction, the outflow, the spillage, the new arrivals… and the smallness of one Man. One little flake could do nothing against the Cosmic swirl. He could admire it, follow it, fear it, or struggle against it. But in the final analysis, each man was nothing.
Almost… nothing.

Self determination.
Billions of ways to fall. Moved by this force, or that. A man can be an enthusiastic follower of this great swirl, or that great movement. Or have faith in a different, incoming armada of brand new snow flakes. Oh, he could struggle against it. He could try and plot his own course. But he would find it hard to fall alone. The Great Forces would try and sweep him up and along, determine his direction, his course, his view. It would be a truly unique snowflake that charted his own fate…

Still falling. Still falling. Checking my altimeter. Wrist mounted.
Maybe try a Delta. Bring my arms back. Back. Back…

My head goes down, and my speed picks up. My fall is departing the vertical, and becoming more of an angular fall. I am now moving across the ground. Even more flakes are now whizzing at me, ideas coming at me from all directions. They would coalesce on my goggles, and obscure my vision, but I’m going fast enough that they can’t. I would have to stay in one column of flakes, and remain there, ignoring everything else, before my goggles and sight would be affected. Perhaps I would be blinded. The thought is uncomfortable. There is so much to see! So many ideas!
I turn my head, and see a beam of moving light exploding inwards towards our “pale blue dot”. It brings relief, and joy, and purity. Color.


I look down. Getting lower. I think of my parachute. The red and white Papillon. I have packed it carefully, and mostly they open very reliably. With a loud crack, that you can hear clearly on the ground. If anybody was watching. Listening…
Probably not. Sky divers don’t jump through snow storms. When it’s cold. They prefer to jump when it’s warm and sunny, and when there’s lots of pretty girls watching. The famous “after-dive” was as important as the dive. The after-dive was what really got your heart pumping.
Few skydivers dive alone. Few thinkers try and think alone. Few snow flakes try and swirl alone.

Just a few. The untouchables. The outcasts.

Or, perhaps…

The dreamers…

Francis Meyrick

Last edited by Francis Meyrick on October 31, 2011, 1:44 pm

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