Through the many years as a professional nature photographer I have learned the intimate lesson that Nature provides something beautiful to view, every single day; you just need to have your eyes open enough to see it. Sometimes it is a grand landscape that inspires the soul, but more often it is something simple, like a single blade of grass or a flower pedal in the rain. The quest for the day is to find it.
I have learned a similar lesson in regards to paragliding. The mountains generally provide safe moments to fly most every single day (exceptions of course). You just need to have your eyes and wings open enough to see it, and willing to act when it does. Sometimes they are grand flights to great heights that inspire the soul, but more often they are something simple. Like a short flight off a nearby mountain after a rain storm, or a late evening hike-n-fly before twilight. Although not grand in many peoples minds as the flights are often short, to me, these become my favorite and most memorable moments in the sky. It is nothing but the beauty of nature, and the pure feeling of having my feet leave the ground that spurs me up the mountain.
The last several weeks, this lesson has been reinforced over and over as we have been subjected to a daily dose of dynamic weather. It seems everyone complains about how ‘weird’ the weather is. True, but to me I see beautiful billowing thunder heads inspiring to watch, but obviously dangerous to fly in. They build, then unleash their unconfined fury….but it does not last forever. It is finding those safe moments long before they build, or after their furry ends that spurs me up into the mountains…in search of just a few moments in the sky.
There have been many short, but still inspiring flights to my soul the last several weeks. Evening ‘sled rides’ out of the soggy mountains, morning flights from high mountain meadows, big climbs above the Wasatch, finding refuge high on the north face of Olympus and sharing one final thermal to cloud base with 3 eagles. Inspiring moments in the sky.
As autumn now approaches, I continue to look forward to each day, hoping that my eyes and wings will be open enough to act when the sky whispers it’s time.