The harder I tried to understand the difference between the far side of this sign and the side you see now, the more they merged. Behind me, mountains and cactus and bighorns and large cats and the sun setting. Ahead, mountains and cactus and bighorns and large cats and the moon rising. And launch as it turned out. Hey, I don't decide. The mountain was shaped before the sign.
Hundred mile views in every direction were served up while I focused my energy on assembling my flying machine. The transition from big slow land animal to human-become-bird was as smooth as a thought. A few light steps down the slope seemed like unnecessary formality as the wings became mine.
Well I'm not a bird even with these wings and the air reminded me on this flight. So I kicked and screamed on my way down, refusing my destiny until my altitude wouldn't allow me to ignore or wish away the thousands of saguaros below and ahead and to my side and...
You see, it's already three hours driving to get to launch and it just wasn't on my schedule to check out the other side for landing areas. But we make our decisions whether we think so or not. I had made mine and this moment had been speeding flat out toward me all day. It was as impressive as I had imagined.
The distant sliver ahead was the highway connecting two small forgotten western towns for the people who wished to make the journey. I would be landing approximately in the middle of nowhere at just about..sunset. This was a perfect recipe for solitude while I waited for the rescue car. The saguaros turned to palo verdes, which seemed to morph into greasewoods unnoticed. The stress and excitement both faded as I found my clearing in the desert. I dipped in, tasted the cool air of ground effect, and stepped back down to the ground.
The glider jumped into the bag. I guess I've done that enough times. I watched the pink sky turn blue then black as the crescent moon grew brighter. I could hear my heart in my throat. The shadows on the mountain spread until the entire ridge was just a black shadow against a black sky. I thought about a lot of things and of course about how long until my rescue arrived.
It's these moments that have molded me from my bed head to my flip flops. It doesn't have to be flying but, through flying, I have met the most important people in my life and discovered the best places the world can offer me. This is awesome.