Free fallin’

free fall“Falling is just like flying, except there’s a more permanent destination.”1

I love that quote. Ever since I heard it, it kind of stuck in my head, sloshing around like melted snow. It is true, in its own way – skydivers know that best of all. But it also hints at something more, some deeper meaning. I don’t know whether the author really thought about this being misconstrued as a metaphor for life. But I like to think that he did; he just refused to explore it further, just letting it dangle there, for the world to see.

Oh yes, we think we’re flying. Some higher, some lower, some faster, some slower. Look at us go. Look at us, flapping those arms, going through the motions! Look at those fluffy clouds, man! Ground? What ground? We can see no ground from up here, and anyway, for us, the ground is just some theoretical abstraction that those folks of a philosophical persuasion thought up. Why, they say we’re all going to hit it sooner or later, and it’s “goodbye, flying” from there on.

Other folks say you’ve got to keep light while you’re travelling, ‘cause when you hit that ground, you’re going under! But just keep light and then, well, there’s a chance you’d bounce right back up, all the way to heaven. There’s even folks saying you just hop like a frog, depending on your baggage, and that your purpose in life is to get just the right weight to stop altogether.

As for myself, I know we all are falling. I’m guessing I’m about half way down, give or take a few years. If all goes well, that is, and I don’t hit some Everest. Like an idiot. If I steer free of mountain ranges in general. Who knows, maybe I’ll find me some good old chasm and ride this thing down for all it’s worth. Hey, if I’m really lucky, there might be some zero gravity zone at the end of it.2 But I don’t get my hopes up. All I’m aiming for are some nice barrel rolls along the way.

So. Wasn’t that a waste of a good metaphor? *ahem*. Welcome aboard Air Destiny. Fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride.

  1. This is what Steven Moffat, one of the great screenwriters of our age, tells us in the – quite grand, to be honest – finale of the second series of “Sherlock”, a modern take of Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved character. []
  2. That would be what some of you good folks are calling “The Singularity”. Kind of like a Heaven for nerds. []