Over the River…

As we venture out, over the river and through the woods, we look forward to the happy reunions at the end of our travels…The effort behind the journey reminds us of the value we place on togetherness…we go to great expense and travel great distances to share a feast with people we love in places that contain warm memories of past times…we drive forward into the night or the dawn of a new day with the end in mind, yet along the way we collect memories that add worth to our journey…over breakfast at an airport diner with our copilot, leaning against the window of the cabin staring out at a luminous sunrise, or simply contemplating the blessings of being born into a place and a time that allows us to meander in and out of each other’s lives and soar through the heavens as if living in a dream. Happy Thanksgiving and Safe Travels.

Advancing

When we gaze into an advancing landscape, forgetting about the rest of what surrounds us, we become lost in its features, coming to life as though it were climbing out of a hazy abyss, momentarily alive in its relative motion, its features expressing detail and meaning in the shifting shadows…we come to know the earth at a personal level…what stands out to me; what stands out to you…we view the same thing while seeing things differently…respecting the subject, we embed the vision in our memories and leave room for our own interpretations and meditations.

Racing Reflections

Watching the signs slide by on the highway…unlike the ones normal people see…we sense shifting colors on vaporous canvas, subtle yet silent motion, amorphous, brilliant, ghostly…suddenly, as though bursting forth in a sudden surge of energy, our reflection appears, riding on the tip of our shadow as it pierces the clouds beneath us.

Following…Reflecting

Following similar trajectories to those who have gone before us, our paths converge on a point beneath the aerial horizon…that nexus is captured in the expansive beams of light radiating from our reflection on the vaporous atmosphere…our Brocken Spectre tells us a story of our travels along this way, dwarfing our perception of the shadowy image eluding our pursuit.

Adeii Eichii – Dreamscape

The mask of airborne vapor rolls back to reveal the dreamscape in the arid desert below. Red earth giving way to the Red Rock Cliffs and the tearful flow of the Adeii Eichii Cliffs beyond…an unearthly scene, yet every drift and crenellation revealing the mystical soul of this place and fortifying our imaginations. This is a place of dreams layered upon earth.

Slipping Back into Night

In a moment when our only perception of time comes from the widening band of light on the horizon, we ease through the calm and serenity of our space, contemplating the coming dawn, before turning our gaze earthward and slipping back into the night.

Slipping Back into Night

In a moment when our only perception of time comes from the widening band of light on the horizon, we ease through the calm and serenity of our space, contemplating the coming dawn, before turning our gaze earthward and slipping back into the night.

Feeding the Calm

Creatures of inertia, we remain static, floating in a state of balance, following stable courses along a predictable paths…and we are happy and stress-free. But there are forces in our world that transmit their heat, their stress, their energy, to anyone who passes nearby…like a contagion…causing a swirl, darkening the skies, and upsetting the equilibrium. We face these challenges by looking up and into the thinner air and sunlight above, we value lightness, we rise through the turmoil, and in that space above the foment, we feed the calm.

Abstract Landscape: Footprints

The wind tiptoes across the desert leaving swirls of her footprints on the earth as twisted dunes, each unique, yet harmonious like synchronous waves on the sea.

A Rising Tide

A rising tide in the morning sky…multiple planes of vapor, shadow, and light converge on the fringes of twilight over Monterrey and recast an illuminated undercast as a rolling sea of red following the night as it recedes toward the aerial horizon…a momentary world relegated to dreams as its last traces fade with the rising sun.

Sweeping Away the Night

The sun penetrates an overcast layer in streaming rays of light, strafing the landscape with their broken beams. As clouds give way to the building radiance, the dawn sweeps away the night.

Delaying the Dawn

As the dawn washes the New Mexico landscape in warm early morning light, Sandia Peak casts its long shadow westward, delaying the dawn and leaving Albuquerque in a prolonged state of darkness.

A Touch of Yellow

The Aspens color the visible edges of Rocky Mountain tops, presenting a preview of the season as Autumn seamlessly creeps down the mountainside.

Dangling

“She was dangling her legs
Over the little Colorado river
Asking my last bit of sunlight
And all the Arizona told me
Arizona told me…
So, I asked her if she wanted to fly
Yup, maybe she needed a ride
To go anywhere at all”
– “Adelaide” by Chadwick Stokes

Some music sticks with us, ringing around the dark corners of our minds in a soft and unassuming din that fills the void of momentary silence…while others create auditory connections between places, objects, and stories…Each time I pass south of the Grand Canyon, crossing the Little Colorado River, this song rings in my ears. The place is not so famous as its neighboring canyon to the north, but its discrete and irregular path stimulates our curiosity, complementing perceptions of a place imagined in song…cue the music…as we envision Adelaide dangling her legs over the chasm in the late afternoon sun.

Discerning Relevance

When the world shifts out of focus, the lights that shine most brightly may distract us as we seek to comprehend their relevance, but the colors define the bounds of our world and help us discern the way forward from the uncharted hazards lurking in the darkness. Our world becomes more clear and we press onward into the night.

Separation

The elements that define our world collide and disperse in the moment of transition from black and white to color. As the shadowy veil of night lifts and separates from the earth, the broadening light illuminates the streams of water vapor trapped in the cool hidden contours and we begin to define the landscape…familiar and awake in the light of the dawn.

Dissolution

We leave only vapor trails as our legacy in the heavens. So real a part of our world that they lend us a sense of belonging as we write our stories on the cloudscape and look for the tails of those who preceded us. With the passage of time, we witness the effects of the atmosphere’s constant motion, made visible only by the wind-born dust and the cycle of water…and somewhere in between we come upon a singular cloud, asking ourselves where it falls in the scheme of things and how it was formed, only to realize that it is the dissolution of a story that was written before we passed this way, now caught in the moment of its belonging.

Striations in an Evening Sky

Thin layer of smoke linger in the atmosphere, striping the heavens with narrow striations as the setting sun catches and reflects on the many colored particles hanging in the air.

Never Forget – Memory, Focus, and Resolve

We are in the business of being unemotional. Not that we are without emotion; we don’t let emotions intrude on the performance of our tasks. We are likewise in the business of ensuring the well-being of those people, both friends and strangers alike, who buy a ticket and put their safety and their lives in our hands. We uphold a sacred trust each time we suit up and walk onto the flightdeck. The events of September 11th, 2001 introduced a tarry cloud of emotion into the well-ordered world we had previously known. The sudden, violent, and tragic events of the day violated our very sense of purpose and left us angry, adrift, and hopeless for a time. Our vision was clouded as though hurtling through a dark sky, unable to bring the world back into sharp focus.

Trees now grow along the edges of earth made fertile by the remembrance of the souls consumed by the vacuum of the shrinking towers and we try to remember how many years have passed since the world came crashing in on our once protected existence…Now the memories pass into dreams and the horrid sleepless visions of the days that followed September 11th seem blurry and less real…but we will never forget.

After the attacks, it took me the better part of a week to return to Boston from Los Angeles. When I did, it was as though I were returning from a different world to an unfamiliar home…Though the streets, like the skies, were still largely silent, each and every overpass seemed to be adorned with an American flag…not professionally hung, but twist-tied and knotted to chain link fences by plain folks who knew that these symbols were what we all needed to see woven into every scene. More than anything else, I remember the empty skies and those flags that signaled a collective sense of unity and resolve.

We learned that we are not invulnerable while the rest of the world witnessed the unity, the fury, and the resolve with which we faced that realization. When we have been willing to challenge ourselves, we have also learned that we are not infallible and that there is always time to make a course correction. We must resolve to be better, to unite in peacetime as we unite in war, to eliminate our enemies by diminishing their causes and grievances, to abandon the delusional conspiracy theories that seek to divide us at our core, and to make this broken world a better and more beautiful place…Wabi-Sabi.

Sunshine and Labor

Happy Labor Day and thank you to all those who have dedicated their professional lives to promoting fairness and safety in the pursuit of our profession. For all of my brothers and sisters who find themselves laboring today rather than relaxing in the sunshine of a holiday weekend…May your travels be swift and safe…May you care for your charges and deliver them safely…May the sun shine upon you, but never in your eyes…And may the wind be always at your back. I’ll see you along the way and listen for you on the air.

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