Rising (literally) to the occasion

Breaking gender barriers doesn't have to be all work and no play, as the women in Homefront's lead story demonstrate so adroitly.

I broke a barrier of my own last month in Lake George, N.Y. – and, like the California surfboard moms, felt so alive doing it. Finally, I had the chance to go parasailing.

While I was filling out the release form, two other women approached me, one by one. "Are you going up?" each asked. "Maybe I'll try it, too."

None of us looked like the daring type. In fact, two of us could be politely described as "very petite." The third woman was wearing an above-the-knee street dress and espadrilles with three-inch heels.

Our adventure began with a speedboat ride out to a barge where we'd take off and land. The driver seemed bemused by our trio. "This is a conquering-fears group, huh?"

I was the first to go up.

I stepped into the harness, which an attendant hooked to the sail. The other women gave me the thumbs-up sign as the multicolored cloth billowed to life behind me.

Within seconds I was hundreds of feet above the lake. I rose and dipped with the air currents. The rope attaching me to the speedboat below was my only tie to the earth now. Any fears had frayed and snapped when I ascended.

For 10 glorious minutes the sky was all mine. Then I was slowly pulled down. My landing was a bit bumpy, I admit. In fact, I almost skidded off the barge. But the attendant said, "We could see you smiling the whole time."

The other women, after watching me, had more dignified landings – even the one in the dress. But all of us agreed that, if given the chance, we'd sail again in a second. Flying high was freeing in so many ways.

We are women, watch us soar.

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