Small daughter went skydiving with the Brownies last night. You might ask if it’s reasonable to throw such small people out of aeroplanes and that would be a valid question – but luckily she was at an indoor skydiving centre where instead of falling down from the sky, she was pushed up by a wind tunnel. Even more luckily for me, there was a spare space in the group and I got to have a turn too!
There’s something quite magical about being held up by such a strong wind. Simply by bending or straightening your legs, tensing or relaxing, you can move around and go up and down. Some of the Brownies kicked their legs as if they were swimming and it’s a natural reaction because that’s just what it feels like – swimming in the air. On our second turn, the instructor took those of us who wanted to high up in the tunnel, swinging us round and round as we shot up in the air and then spinning back down like an autumn leaf. Wonderful!
The wind in the tunnel was around 80-100mph and that’s a pretty strong wind – as strong as some of the gales that have hit the country recently. We woke up one morning last week to find the rain battering on the windows and the wind shrieking around the house. There had a weather warning on the news the night before, but it’s still always a bit of a shock to see just how wild the wind and rain can be.
We checked the weather and traffic reports and wondered whether we should risk driving small daughter to school. And looking at the rain sheeting across the fields, it struck me that for all our technological advances we still have no control over some things in the world – the weather being one of them. We can funnel wind into tunnels to skydive for fun, but the whole country grinds to a standstill at the smallest snowfall. It’s as if we think that carrying on as normal will make the weather behave in the way we want it to.
We’re only a short way into autumn so the weather is only going to get worse. It shouldn’t be a surprise to us, and yet we are often unprepared. We weren’t allowed near the wind tunnel without safety instructions, helmets and goggles – but we don’t think twice about going out in the worst weather without any kind of special equipment. I’ll bet the only people who travel in the winter with a blanket and an emergency snack in the car are parents of toddlers when in reality, we should all have those things in case of breakdowns in bad weather.
This winter, I’m determined to be more prepared. And I also know that next time we’re out in a strong wind I need to keep tight hold of small daughter or she’ll be flying away!