The days are short and cold and the nights are long and colder, winter is definitely upon us. Along with the chilly temperatures, the season change brings with it the dreary weather associated with the time of year. Lots of clouds, lots of wind, and lots of gloom; none of which are conducive to catching. Naturally, we’ve been spending a lot of time on the ground. We managed to snag a few catches in late October but since then the weather has been real hit or miss. Now, if it were up to me staying on the ground all winter really wouldn’t be a problem. I prefer the warm, comfortable days of summer jumping. But this time the choice wasn’t up to me, but rather a loved one of mine, Ms. J.

Ms. J is a dear sweet woman and adorable human being who happens to enjoy what we do with Captured Sky! She came to me in early November and told me about her niece that lives in California.
“She has a beautiful home, and she decorates it with different shades of blue along with a little beige and some white” Ms. J told me over a delicious dinner she had prepared for us one night. “I thought it would make a nice Christmas gift to have one of your pieces made for her in those colors” she said.
Aww, how sweet is she? Wanting to give the gift of sky! You know what, Ms. J, you are totally right! That is a good idea.

So now I was on a mission, to get Ms. J’s piece of sky for her niece and to craft our very first custom catch. Ms. J was very specific on the colors she wanted me to give the sky. Blue, beige, white, and she emailed me later to request a small amount of red be given to the wind as well. Now it’s true, neither she or myself have control of the final design the sky will give us but her having selected the colors and dimensions of her piece makes it especially unique, a design of her own collaboration with the wind and sky! And how generous of her to want to give that gift to her niece. I told you she was adorable.


Despite the less than ideal weather conditions, I was really looking forward to crafting Ms. J’s catch. I made a trip to the art store and picked up some new shades for her piece. At home, I prepared the paints and canvas size she requested for flight. I had everything I needed in order to get Ms. J’s custom catch. Everything expect the most crucial piece, the sky. Jumpable conditions had continued to relent to winds and clouds. Over a month passed without my ability to get on a load to make the catch. Ms. J had wanted to have the piece to give to her niece as a Christmas gift but the odds of that happening were, similar to the sky, becoming more and more bleak.


December 22. It’s a cold yet surprisingly clear Monday morning. The winds were forcasted to be high and I had to work that afternoon so I’d written the day off in terms of jumping. I’m in bed enjoying the snooze button on my alarm when Frank, who was already at the DZ, calls.
“Winds are coming down and they’re starting to run loads. If your going to do this before Christmas, now is your chance.”
No kidding! The 22nd happened to be the last operating day for the drop zone for 2014 before it closed up shop for two weeks over the holidays. So I jumped out of bed into the warmest layers I could find on short notice (which as it would turn out were not very warm at all) and hightailed it to the DZ. Sure enough, when I got there the winds were nominal and there was enough blue sky that it was raining men; Hallelujah!


I hopped on a load first thing. Word had gotten out that they were running at the DZ so fun jumpers had been crawling out of the woodwork from job and warm trailer to take advantage of the last jumpable day of the year. The load was full and crammed, but full of happiness and joy. I took in a view of bright smiles and blue skies as we climbed to altitude in my favorite little Caravan. Small wispy clouds accented our ascent and made me all the more eager to take advantage of our playground.

But then they called ‘DOOR’.

The frigid chill of the winter air came blasting into the caravan without avail. It had been cold on the ground, but at altitude, it was unbearable! The wind scratches and burns as it attacks our exposed skin. Instantly, I’m regreting not wearing more pants. We huddle near the door to check our spot, noses frozen, hands numb, wondering more and more why we are here. And things didn’t get any better after exiting. I came to find that it was not only me who did not like to perform in such conditions, but also the paints as well. The cold air had made them thick and unwilling to come out of their containers. I squeezed feverishly on the first bottle of paint and looked disparagingly at the canvas as nothingness continued to look back at me. In my mind I see a glimpse of myself landing after the jump and having still a blank canvas to show for my efforts. ‘No way!’ I thought and snap back to reality. Game on, frustrating demoralizing cold weather catch…


I went a good :58 seconds with that 11×14 plus an enduring canopy ride. She fought hard, but I fought harder. By landing I’d managed to get each color out and on canvas. It was a miracle. Given all the challenges leading up to and during this catch, I was especially thrilled by the outcome. A beautifully blended piece with vivid contrast and character; caught on the very last day of the running year just before Christmas. As a credit to its circumstances, Ms. J’s piece of sky is Miracle, and a beautiful one at that.