Friday, June 6, 2014

The Jumping Rock

Working up the courage to jump.

Launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment...there is no other life but this. Henry David Thoreau
 The hardest thing is just finding the courage to jump. After all, I climbed all the way up through rough rocks and poison oak. Jumping off is the easiest way down.

 That's what crossed my mind as I stood on top of the "jumping rock" on Lake Clementine. I joined Bayside Adventure Sports to take part in the Tuesday Evening Activities. The group gets together, weekly for kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and tonight, cliff jumping.
 From the top of the rock, I looked out over an emerald vision. The lake water, freshly melted snow from the Sierra, is now warm enough for a swim. Our paddle boards and kayaks hover motionlessly like toy pieces on glass. At the cliff's edge. it seems like I'm looking down into forever. It's deep enough. At least Erik, our leader has assured us of that. He has been jumping off this rock since he was a kid. It is a long way down. I'm sure the longer I stand there, the more I will talk myself out of jumping. One thought races across my brain. How much is this going to hurt?

 The first to leap is Evan. He has taken a flying start from much higher up. He hangs in the air waving his arms and legs like a puppet on a string until he collides with water in a huge splash. His head pops to the surface quickly with exultation. Up next is Erik, a quick nod to the camera, and then he is over the edge. Falling...Falling... Falling,  I see the splash, but can't hear it. I'm the only one left on top.
 I inch down to find my position on the rock. Gosh, it's a long way down. I look for some firm footing for my leap. The rock isn't smooth or even. There will be no running start.
  Am I sure, I really want to do this? It is now or never. I take moment to study the water.  To late to back out.  One...Two...Take a giant breath....Three...
 The fall is fast and short. It's exhilarating feeling flying through the air. The lake gets closer and closer. I point my toes and hold to the camera as gravity pulls me into the pool. I'm engulfed in the cool green water. I swim to the surface and pop my head up in relief. It wasn't so bad. If we had some more time I think I would jump again, as crazy as that sounds.