In 1957, David G. Simons rode a helium balloon up 19 miles…
…tucked inside an aluminum capsule.
Just to see if it could be done. And peek out from on high.
He recalled the experience this way:
“I had a ringside view of the heavens, where the atmosphere merged with the colorless blackness of space … the sky was so heavily saturated with the blue-purple color that it was hard to comprehend. Like a musical note which is beautifully vibrant but so high that I lies almost beyond the ears ability to hear, leaving you unsure whether you heard it or just dreamed of its beauty.”
Aug 16, 1960 Captain Joe Kittinger…
…rode a helium balloon to 102,800 ft and stepped off the gondola. Free fall. Almost 20 miles up, or shall I say DOWN….
…with only a small drogue parachute to prevent a flat spin, he fell at over 600 mph. He managed to open another chute at 18,000 ft.
He recalls the fall this way:
“There’s no way you can visualize the speed. There’s nothing you can see to tell how fast you’re going. You have no depth perception. If you’re in a car driving down the road and you close your eyes, you have no idea what your speed is. It’s the same thing if you’re free falling from space. There are no signposts. You know you are going very fast, but you don’t feel it. You don’t have a 614-mph wind blowing on you. I could only hear myself breathing in the helmet”.
No miracles. No markers.
Neither man received much renown for these incredible acts.
Isn’t this the quintessential portrait of faith?
Nameless and invisible acts of courage.
Signposts invisible, unknown.
Eyes closed or eyes open,
all I hear is me breathing into the helmet.
Extremes of danger and of all things BEAUTY.
Ever feel that way?
WHAT ABOUT FEAR?
Have you been to the purple-blue place?
Jumped with only the net of prayer?
Oh, please share your story in the comments below! I’ve had some trouble with comments not posting. Please message me on FB if you have trouble.
Just before jumping from the balloon gondola Excelsior III at 102,800 ft, Captain Joe said, “Lord take care of me now.”
Twenty miles down, 614 mph. There it is, the miracle of no flat spin. And a view beyond words. Wooden Woman says, sometimes that’s all we get.
I see I have read your post more then a year after it was written but the subject of fear/faith never grows old. It haunts the lives of all who would dare. And so I have dared – to jump into the pages of a book. Seventy five thousand words written and now…..fear. After all who am I to…..but as I once read, and who am I not to….
Those thousands of words have been lying within my laptop for over a year, waiting. I am miles high, dare I jump?
Ohhhh the freefall!
Susan Cowger says
Oh yes, Colleen! Every single day, Colleen, it feels like there is something I can dare to do or quietly let it slide to the back of the drawer. I find it takes a lot of energy to get to the decision to move ahead. A LOT. But once it has been made the world changes. I love the way courage makes me more impervious to failure. Even what might have been a “fail” as I worried my way to the decision, now is another step toward something good. Miracles are possible.
I hope you dare to pursue a book.
Hunter Thompson says,
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
Well, it doesn’t happen quite like that for me, but I love the flavor of goodness just in the doing. There’s goodness in the doing!
Susan Cowger says
YES, Bethany. It is something audacious to ponder……and it makes me wonder about speed that feels like nothing. HOOOWEEE! the ride of life! Makes me want to look up from tasks and my general self-absorbstion more often!
Craig and Bethany says
Free fall, unreserved submission, experimentation with the a force bigger than ourselves. The consummation of free will. And those rolling indigo lavender notes. I keep rolling it over in my mind.
Susan Cowger says
Laurie, what a marvelous intersection of childlike faith and maternal care. I want to live life less afraid of all I don't know, more aware of goodness that often accompanies black-and-blue. And I haven't thought of Mercurochrome for AGES!
When D.G.S. soared aloft to his ringside seat on heaven, I was 7 years old, still convinced I could fly (off our front porch) … airborne for maybe a second or two. Faith with skinned knees. Mama swabbed them with Mecurochrome in the shape of two kittens. Hindsight might name them Peril and Beauty. The black-and-blue place. Goodness in action.