When all the world is ablaze in glorious light, we lose all sense of what is…instead we live for a moment in elemental form, adrift on the breeze as we float through temporal fields of fire…electrifying our senses and elating our spirits…this moment is what matters.
Are you looking up or are you looking down to find your horizon. For some low fliers, this is a question of genetics and heredity. For some higher fliers, heredity has a role, but not the way one might think…dreams in the form of stories and a shared desire for adventure passed between parents and children. A thirst for adventure that transcends the generations…I was born to fly…I dreamed it until I could do it. Sometimes all we need are an example to follow and the encouragement to transform a dream into a possibility.
Watching all manner of birds is fodder for the imagination. While many of them spend their lives looking up toward the horizon, their innate ability, and sometimes incongruous physical forms, help us to recognize the potential in our own awkward forms…apply a wing and a desire and, suddenly, we are flying.
The thrill of riding in the back of a plane is known to every child who ever sat, eyes affixed to the horizon, searching for their home from the sky. Such a little thing…the yearning to know our place on earth from a new perspective, initiates an electric chill of excitement, a fresh discovery…can set the course for a lifetime of aerial pursuit, travel, and discovery. Pick a window seat, raise the shade, and look out the window with the zeal of a child who wants to see their world from above and the skies will lift to brighten your perspective on your ordinary day as your horizons expand and an intangible sense of joy will engage your spirit.
Out of the darkness, we find illumination, recognizing that one cannot exist without the other. In flight, the most invigorating moments happen around transitions…from static to kinetic, earth to heaven, day to night, and dark to light. Each transition folds onto the next, creating a tightly bound book of experience, illustrated with memories of light, color, and energy. We feast on change and our physical and emotional reactions to it define who we are, just as the night and day define the passage of time.
We look upon the landscape, finding patterns drawn in shadows as if projected to trigger our private memories, and we remember the day our world changed forever…Our friends and coworkers died…our industry flailed…our national confidence was violated…we, so accustomed to feeling in control and possessing of power, felt helpless…and we wondered, “why not us.” We will remember this feeling every day for the rest of our lives, but today is a day of remembrance…it’s not about stirring up (though it does) emotions in our complicated minds…It’s about keeping the history alive so that younger generations might understand what has shaped their world and they might begin to understand our incomprehensible sense of loss. So, today, we stop. We reflect. We search our souls for peace. We honor our dead. We maintain a countenance of strength and resolve never again to be victims. We find space in our hearts for the understanding that the more we accept one another, the less we will allow to come between us. And, we remember that day which we may NEVER FORGET.
Look up…What do you see? I see an airplane following a great circle while appearing to fly a straight line…I see an object moving through space while appearing to fall from heaven…I see a sky that is not blue, but a deepening gradient of indigo as I look from our atmosphere into the space beyond…I see lines of contrails, gasses in a monetarily solid state before expanding and evaporating into the space of dreams…I see a luminous jet, a toy or plaything, wound up and let run for the joy of a child, but truly, a highly advanced technological craft, built by scientists, engineers, and the hands of man, the embodiment of dreams, for the purpose of conquering space and time…I see a pilot who loves his work and feels lucky to spend time in his ship, but never forgets his sacred duty to ensure the safety of that craft and all his charges riding blissfully in back as he labors to earn a better life for himself and his loved ones…Happy Labour Day.
There are two types of aerial voyeurs, those who envision themselves flying over the surface of the earth and those who envision themselves flying around the earth…it may seem a minor distinction, but the difference may yield two very different perspectives…They are the perspectives of the orbiter and the surveyor. The surveyor studies the topography and the position of roads, paths, or valleys, constantly orienting himself and thinking about the relationship of spaces, envisioning the map…forever captivated by the landscape, the minute details providing intrigue and guiding his investigations. Meanwhile, the orbiter keeps his eye on the aerial horizon, sensing the motion of his craft in subtle contrast to the motion of the earth, breathing in the cold air that surrounds him, feeling a chill as sunlight peeks over the horizon, scintillating the particles of moisture and dust that drift in the troposphere, and finding solace in the deepening indigo that slowly fills the sky as he rounds the edges of twilight into night…two senses of wonder, two senses of awe, one glorious planet seen through different eyes and emotions.