We amble back home through the tall stems of prickly grass, Trudy is usually munching weeds or thrusting her snout into the hedgerows. Before I put her back on harness we often stand for a few more minutes savouring our freedom. I turn my face towards the wind and feel it tussle my hair. I inhale its freshness and allow all my anxieties to melt into the air. They disperse like paper petals. Trudy has a final nose-dive and then drums her tail against my legs ready for the four-minute stroll home. I never leave the park with an ounce of stress or fear lingering. This magical place renews and invigorates me. It makes life seem even more precious, and I arrive home eager to make the most of everything I have.
One day last week I experienced what it is like to feel totally free. Free from worries and concerns, free from everyday life, free from my body. Although it was not an outer-body experience as such, I literally did soar into the sky.
The Black Fly is a ride in the small(ish) amusement park at West Midland Safari Park in Bewdley, Worcestershire. This impressive man-made structure gave me the gift of pure freedom. Some people may consider The Black Fly to be their ultimate nightmare. It rears up into the air, spinning and tumbling in all directions at lightning speed. A metal clamp is all that holds you in as you’re offered up to the gods. You become pin-sized and insignificant as the die is cast to determine whether you live or die.
Whilst clamped inside The Black Fly for the second time I tingled with the thrill of abandoning myself to Fate. If I were to die there and then, I reasoned, it would not matter. All my fears surrounding cancer and its implications vanished. I genuinely felt that whatever happened to me was immaterial, for I was truly and tremendously happy.
The screams of my ride-mates sounded shrill on either side of me. As we raced with the wind, the wails of terror and excitement were tossed into the air. I could feel the wind’s coat-tails fluttering against my face. I inhaled and felt utterly intoxicated. .But unlike my ride-mates I did not feel the need to scream. In fact I was paralysed – not through fear, but ecstasy. I wanted to stay there forever. If only I could trap those two minutes in a jar and replay them for the rest of my life!
The world was far below me, continuing its relentless grind. I really had no desire at all to go back to it. I felt removed from reality, almost invincible. Who needs illicit drugs when such an incredible buzz can be gained from a theme park ride? I am now an adrenalin Junkie, and I’m intending to feed my addiction in a few weeks with a return visit to The Black Fly.
Having said that, the buzz which shot backwards and forwards through my entire body was not simply due to an adrenalin rush. I honestly felt as if all my worries had been lifted away from me. All I had to do was to sit back and let the huge metal pendulum hurl me through the air.
As I twisted and dipped over and over again, I was only vaguely aware that I was still me. If it wasn’t for the ear-shattering screams telling my brain I was still among humans, I might have begun conversing with Angels.