Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Oleh-oleh dari Prambanan (3)
I'M FLYING! I'M FLYING!
It was on the second day of the AG and we were just dismissed from the last activity we had that afternoon so we could get ourselves ready for the gala dinner, a special event which the Sultan himself chanced to come (and I was busily taking pictures of my friends instead of listening to his speech, hehehehe). Suddenly Fitri, my college buddy, tapped my shoulder and said: “Ke jembatan situ yuk, kayaknya seru deh di sana.” I glanced toward the bridge and tried to see what was going on there. But I couldn’t get a clearer view until I reached some kind of a valley near the bridge. There I could see around six fellow scholars – all except one were men - and trainers staring at a person standing on this roofless tree house set up on a tall tree across the river. The guy’s all wired and buckled up, his hands hanging onto a pair of ropes, ready to lurch and glide all the way across the river to the place where the devoted crowd had awaited for him to jump into action.
There, he finally made his move. Swoosssh… It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a … scholar trying out an outdoor game called the Flying Fox*. Like a Superman he flew his way straight to where we were standing. “Arrhhhh!!!” An expression of excitement, and a bit of fear blasting out of his mouth. Hm, it seemed fun. Soon all the scholars there, including Fitri, begged for turns to try out the game. But I wasn’t moved and challenged to try it, considering the eagerly-waiting-long line and the time that was approaching night time. I was thinking of the natural view around the game area and wondering whether there was a good place to take one or two pictures of the surrounding. I did so because hey, I was taking my camera and during AG it never went far away from my grip. Yeah, it’s just an automatic camera, but the sense of beauty inside of me was hungry for beautiful and interesting scenes to be captured.
So, after watching for some people taking turns for the Flying Fox, I decided to walk to the bridge and saw whether the view from there was a good one. The bridge was a cable one, so when one walked over it, it would sway a bit. It turned out the view there was neither as good as where I had been. I stayed there a bit longer though, watching my friends fight their way crossing the bridge and climbing the tree and then ‘flying’ to the landing spot. Not all lurched well. Some ‘flew’ with their feet facing the different direction, not straight as they were supposed to be. But the scream remained the same: They all show the thrill and exhilaration, also a faint fear here and there, hehehe.
After a while, I got tired standing on the bridge by myself without the company of any single scholar. So, I decided to get back to the landing spot. As I walked my way there, a photographer (he was one of the photographers hired by SF to take pictures during AG) who had been standing on the other part of the bridge all the time, dropped a line: “Nggak mau nyobain? Mumpung gratis lho. Kalau di Bali kayak ginian mesti bayar.”
Bang! I believe the word ‘gratis’ paced my nerve all of a sudden :) When I got to the landing spot, I had partly made up my mind to try the game. But the line was already a long one. The sun was slowly hiding its ray and I still had to wait for two more people before my turn. It felt sooo long. Finally, when Fitri was up on the tree house, a scholar was ‘flying’ her way to the landing spot. That meant my turn had come.
As soon as the fellow scholar landed and released all the equipments from her body, I prepared myself to wear those equipments. They consist of a strap of belt which spanned from your joints to your shoulders. We wear them like we wear a jumpsuit, only it’s not a suit; it’s only a kind of belt. Then, we wear a helmet (to protect your head, of course) and a pair of hand gloves (to keep your sweaty hands from slipping off the ropes). But I was a bit nervous at the time that I forgot to have my gloves with me. After I put on the strap of belt and the helmet, I dashed off to the tree. However I think another reason I forgot them was because the trainers had urged everyone to hurry as twilight was about five minutes away.
Actually there was one thing I hadn’t told. When one by one people were lurching and landing and my turn was coming near, I actually had a moment at which my heart was pounding fast. Darn! ‘I can’t step back. No, not me,’ I said to myself. To ease my nerve, I made myself to think that when my time to die had come, so let it come. Pretty scarry things to think of, huh? But that was the only way for me to overcome my fear. I say, to have courage in our heart, we must let go all feelings and wants, including the wants to live, and surrender ourselves totally to Allah’s will.
It worked although not instantly. I forgot my gloves, that’s a prove. But there was no doubt in every running steps I took toward the tree and every pulls of rope I groped to reach the tree house (My friends were right; It was a tallll tree). There was no single moment of hesitating. ‘This is it, no stepping back’ was what I said to myself. Yeah, the talks that the two trainers made while waiting for the maghrib call to finish did a big help, yet the most important motivator came from within myself. As a result, when time came for me to lurch, I held tighter to the ropes, whispered goodbye to life deep down inside my heart in case it was my last time on earth, counting one, two, and bismillah …
I’m flying! I’m flying!
*The game is named after a kind of bat species because the way our hands spread when we lurch is similar to the way bats spread their wings when flying.
Pictures shown are courtesies from other websites, due to the absence of pictures taken during the event :D