At the local river there is a remarkable jumping-off tree. It looks purpose-built. Non-swimmers can't fall off of it because it is on the far bank from the beach. You climb up to the tree from the river via soft, silty pocket steps in clay, then balance on horizontal branches worn smooth by feet. These are so sturdy that they are where the jumping-off line forms. And they are enveloped in glowing green leaves. You can jump from either of two low hanging branches. A rope hung from a higher branch can help prolong your fall. I had a lot of time to memorize everything and enjoy it because I was much too frightened to jump. I guess it was fear, but it felt resolute. I was just certain that jumping was the wrong thing to do, as I told the children who stuck around for ages to encourage me. I was up there a really long time. I think it is out of fashion to call feelings primal, but it was a primal fear of dark water. I have always been able to count on not being afraid of heights or other physical things. But, I am a bit glad I've experienced it. It had better not be ongoing.
I jumped off it and it was okay. I remembered to wear my contacts, so I think that helped. Also, I made these photos by swimming my camera across the river.