As recently as 2012 the world hang gliding world record for longest distance* has been broken, which now pushes the record over 700km in one flight, or for readers not used to the metric system; a very long way. For a
thing foot-launched heavier-than-air aircraft, which doesn’t have any engine; that is quite impressive. Then again the moon doesn’t have an engine either and that must have travelled further than 700km by now.
It’s easier than you think though, catch a few thermals and you’ll be on your way. It’s the start that will get you though and one can only imagine the inventor trying to convince others to do it – ‘yeah, just hold on to that pole and run down the hill, yeah, fast as you can’. Well I ran down the hill, and I’ve certainly had a few non starts, not to mention ending up in plenty of random fields and bushes. Lately though, I’ve been soaring; mentally of course, I’ve never even seen a hang glider in real life.
See, it was an analogy for mental health all along.
Even if our nature happens to restrict us to standard Earth walkers, hang gliding allows us to do the unnatural and fly. Catch a few ridge lifts or mountain waves and there’s no stopping you. And when I say you, I mean me. I’ve been doing that, I’ve been finding the pockets of happiness, the uplifting moments, enough of them to say confidently that I’m (still) in a happy period, whilst obliquely aware that my natural state is depressive, and at the end of this flight I will be landing back down there.
So every flight has to end eventually and over the last couple of weeks I’ve been feeling like I’m gliding slowly back down to Dearth*. I’m desperately looking out for convergences of air masses – of course I am, but you’ll eventually hit a dry patch. The inevitability of depression springs into focus then, which in all honesty is much better than having an ‘Airbuck’*, which is when you put too much stress on the wing and it snaps in half. Again for those of you who don’t use the metric system, thats a really really bad thing.
I hit a solid thermal today though. So certain was I that I was in my descension that I began picking out landing areas. What excuse shall I use for being anti-social? What ‘legitimate reason could I be off work? Then productivity kicked in, couch sold, chairs sold, speakers sold, things thrown out. And for
an auctioneer a person leaving the country in 10 days, this is all good news. I suppose these little problems were festering below the surface without actually showing any outwards signs of understanding reality, or my best Theresa May impression.
I’m on the rise again, trying to keep this flight going, it has been a few months now which surely means I’m on for a record. The last guy got the record by flying constantly for 11 hours, I’m in quadruple digits here, sailing past them – quite literally. To be honest though, I even think this analogy is longer than their flight.
*Dustin Martin has the record with 764km. Amazing really.
*A depressive metaphorical earth – Dearth.
*Literally made this word up.
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