We are always looking toward the horizon, whether out the front window or through the rear view mirror…the relative size of these two images is purposeful…through the big window lies a frontier unexplored, one where our choices are yet to be made, where we control our fate with the turn of the wheel…the image in the rearview is minuscule, a thin fiber of memory trapped in the illusion of time, unalterable yet perpetually following in our wake. All that said, I find myself constantly returning to the horizon ahead and the thin layer of convergence between night and day…a sliver of shadow expressed in vivid colors and defined so vaguely that, in its pursuit, we often fail to recognize that we are in it until it has passed us by and all that remains is the flash of a dark aura that consumes our wake…steering our ships around the earth, eyes on the horizon, we make the constant choice to pursue the unattainable and to fill our dreams with the vivid glowing expression of the passage of time.
Often times, we find ourselves looking at the earth underlying a shroud of cloud…Its appearance smooth and soothing without apparent contour as we gaze upon it from a above, the clouds growing more animated and textured as we move closer…a threadbare lumpy blanket being dragged unevenly across the face of the planet, masking the details and character beneath. As we find the thin places in that covering, the mask is lifted and we see the impressions of time and epochal change, the wrinkles and crags on the face of earth that make her unique and beautiful…
In a world of meanders, winding through valleys and plains, our travels shape the landscape and mountains of memory are carved along the way…Smooth and seamless from a distance, we delve into our memories and the ridges and crenellations emerge as shadows grow…delving into this scene, we contemplate our journeys and the memories we have made while investing in our time together, building families and friendships and we find comfort in the graceful curves of our path, whether intentional or serendipitous, they bend through the rugged and challenging landscape of our world and tell our stories as they morph into the dreamscape of our memory.
As we move westward, the edge of night is revealed in swaths of umbral and penumbral shadows. The macro view is one of the terminator advancing demarcating the day as twilight softly rolls along the smooth face of a distant horizon…Looking deeper into the penumbra, we see the rough edges of earth, accentuated by deep shadows on the night side of sand dunes and mountains, the purple shadows of penumbra yielding to the indigo of umbra. Shadows within shadows amplify the warmth of the remaining light and bring a sense of depth and detail to the earth below.
Shadows upon shadows, the spectral light of an aerial dawning gives way to a rising blood moon as its eclipse comes to an end. As we look upon the experience from above, we reflect on the effect of these dark layers as they wash over our world…light will always fall from the heavens and wash away the darkness of shadows that consume our attention and earthly worries…light will always emerge, no matter how long and dark the night. [A retrospective from the blood moon eclipse of 2014]
We are all, whether consciously or unconsciously, searching for inspiration. With eyes wide open and senses attuned, we venture into the world and find that unassuming tasks in ordinary places can transform us, leading us into spiritual moments caught between time and space. We live in these moments and find inspiration, often failing to recognize it for what it is, we awaken in the middle of a dream to the scintillating chill of a twilight soaked bed of clouds through which we race the vanishing light toward the end of a day and the burgeoning mystery of the advancing night. Finding our inspiration, though we may lack the vocabulary to adequately express its value, we know it when we feel it…we live the dream.
Flying around the edges of the day, we’ve made our choice to live in this space that reminds us that change is constant and beautiful…reality is simply this moment, memory is all that came before, and dreams are all that lie ahead…the dynamism and ephemeral nature of our world are the spark of our imaginations and the source of our gratitude.
Traveling stresses and the anxious claustrophobic moments spent with converging crowds intent on “being first” without regard to process or good order…far from the crowd, there are places that provide solace with rolling articulated mountainsides frosted with early season snow…think of it as the cool gift of tranquility proffered through the lens of an 8×10” porthole. Feeling Better?
The moon lingers over the desert landscape in a vague translucence as though it were seeping into our consciousness from a daydream, barely visible through the density of the atmosphere. Elemental in its expression, the landscape holds the heavens at bey, two worlds divided by a singular line of cloud. We focus on one and another, rarely relaxing our attention enough to take in the entire view…relaxing our focus is the real trick, if we’re up to the task, to allow us to appreciate the beauty of our world while engaged in our quotidian dramas of hyper focus and intensity. In practice, we take in the details, but then breath and relax, broaden our perspective, and take in the balance that defines the way ahead…
The dreams that followed 9/11 were so vivid and surreal that they cast doubt on all we recognized as reality. Many of those horrible dreams were likely due to a sort of survivors’ guilt, as for many of those experiencing the events there was the nagging question (whether conscious or subconscious), “Why wasn’t it me?” Did our world end on that September morning and has life ever since been a glimpse into an imagined future? For many years, we have been free from the hapless dreams of that September day, but the memories are indelible…We take it as a sign of hopefulness, that we are not consumed by imagined horrors or wasted second guesses of fate…We are forever wandering a path between light and dark and when we stop on the edge of darkness to contemplate these moments, we imagine the flow of dark waters around us and marvel at the swirling currents rather than worrying about the effect of tides…we turn away again and focus on the light.
We search for meaning in a senseless event as though seeking to understand the value of a scar…a momentary trauma without celestial intention, resulting only in the toughening of our skin and the permanent mark to remind us of the experience. ￼We’ve experienced some tough times in our line of work…we’ve lost friends, fortunes, time, and opportunity…In one way or another, we all bear the marks of damaged goods, yet in the midst of our lament, we find joy among the ￼clouds…We are forever called to serve in a space where few may dwell and we carry out our missions with dispassionate resolve…all the while, we are passionate about adventure and pushing our limits and we share a sense of camaraderie on the wing that others cannot conceive…we develop bonds of faith and trust built upon mutual reliance and professional respect…we live a lifetime in the moments we spend aloft…time passing more rapidly as we sail along the tropopause at eight miles a minute…we live for a string of moments and abide our time on earth as a necessary perch from which to launch on the next leg of our journey, unbound and free to share in the legacy of flight. We will always treasure the gift of flight and WE WILL NEVER FORGET.
Light falls on Earth, easing its way beneath the aerial horizon, slowing the passage of time…in this moment of reverie, we too experience this slowing, capturing and storing the moment to experience it again in our dreams…with the illumination of a thin veil of vapor, the glowing atmosphere converges with scattered elements of dissipating weather, morphing into an indelible dreamscape before vanishing into the night.
The horizon calls us. Whether for adventure, daydreaming, travel, or inspiration, its unspoken challenge can be felt like the pull of an outgoing tide as it exerts its will upon our bodies, impelling us to explore the sea. Beyond the sense of a force upon us, the aerial horizon captures our essence and reflects it back at us in a splash of Brocken Spectre, luring us in a Siren’s song as though calling out, “You are a part of me and I understand you. Follow me into the night.” And we fly toward the falling light as it bends toward the horizon in the youthful pursuit of light.
Divisions are natural, simple gaps in a continuous landscape, separating “one” into several parts, substantially the same but possessing of different perspectives. Bridges are essential, though they may not unite us, they ensure that everyone has the opportunity to benefit from another’s perspective, if we bring ourselves to cross them.
Lacking perspective, we find ourselves wandering a labyrinth of slot canyons, incapable of escape, encumbered by towering walls, our travel impeded by our own inability to look beyond our own confusion…yet, when we enlarge our view, that tangle of earthen passages becomes a curiosity, a beautiful abstraction of color and texture. That which was an impediment now provides joy and wonder, a call to explore, and a challenge to look beyond the moment without alarm or sense of inconvenience. Perspective is everything.
We navigate a world fraught with peril and ecstasy as we meander along the way, balancing the effects of light and dark. We are elated by a glorious sunset as we warily negotiate the afternoon’s storms, their tops pressed firmly upon the glass ceiling of the tropopause, their upward motion hampered by weight of the atmosphere and their diminishing energy, dense shadows giving way to thin veils of falling water vapor illuminated by the sinking sun.
As the last light of the summer solstice radiates from beneath the aerial horizon, we find ourselves at a seasonal equilibrium, cruising along the edge of night where a balanced calm exudes from the world around us, absent the earthly concerns of man.
A dream of flight is to cruise silently above the earth, circling our plant, floating on the thin transparent fluid of our atmosphere in a trance of admiration and wonder…layer upon layer, with increasing density as we move closer to the surface, all things float on that dear blue sphere. As the world warms and flooding changes the face of our planet, water draws new maps and defines the agendas of our coastal communities. We cope, we protect what we can and let the water wash over that which we can’t…We continue our motion along the way and reflect on the perpetual balance of water and earth.
Signs are always presenting themselves on the horizon for our interpretation. We look for signs that portend changes in weather and the ride ahead. Sometimes they can be ambiguous, sometimes they can require the interpretive powers of an old salt, and sometimes they present themselves in such a clear and deliberate manner that there can be doubt as to the nature of what lies ahead.
All things fall apart…while those things that are are most enduring create an illusion of defiance to entropy, though imperceptible, the process is no less real. Entropy is often most apparent as we look upon those things that grow fast…When we passed this way a few short hours ago, we braced ourselves and maneuvered around a rapidly growing wall of storms that extended into the tropopause…yet as we retrace our steps in the waning light, we witness the break up of disorganized storms as their remnants melt into the evening sky.
Weather, earth, walls, and ideas fall apart in a natural entropic lapse unless the source of their growth can be sustained. We all long for storms to end…for that moment when, without sustenance, they become indiscernable from the calm of night…and like a storm, volatile ideas and walls that divide us, if not fueled and upheld by divisive intent, will run their course, deflate, corrode, and exhaust themselves, while the ideas that unite us can be upheld and sustained by our faith and spirits.