On why I choose to fly

Anyone that partakes in a sport that is outside the norm will have some reason or other for doing what they do. Mostly, their reasons boil down to vague notions of _thrill_ or of challenge; they want to do something that scares them, or that is so insanely difficult that doing it at all elevates you to an elite crowd.

These are, in my opinion, pretty good reasons to do crazy things. They're not, however, _my_ reasons.

I choose to fly because I get to feel the freedom of letting go of conventional stability -- the plane -- and having a very personal, nearly spiritual connection to my world. When I am in the air alone, I owe nothing to anybody but myself, and I owe very little even there. All I have to do is pull, and I have satisfied every obligation.

Today, and I write this reluctantly, I jumped for the last time.

The skies were blue, patched with clouds at 7,000'.

The air was fresh, the wind calm.

The temperature was high, but for Brazil, not too bad.

I jumped from a Caravan at 12,000', making a smooth exit and a laughing, joyous flight through a cloud in the aforementioned cloud layer.

I pulled.

The chute opened.

And I felt something in my shoulder give.

It wasn't a complete dislocation, but even now when I put on a T-shirt, I feel it nearly slip out when I slide my arm into the sleeve.

I cannot jump if I cannot comfortably and fearlessly carry out the single most important task in the skydive, and I cannot safely _pull_ anymore.

So, jump #38, at 25 minutes and 15 seconds of freefall, my first jump in a country other than Canada, my first jump from a Caravan, and also my last.

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