This is morning. Time to fly. Two boys, happy to open the hangar door and get the plane ready.
It’s been a year since I passed the FAA exam and became a pilot. Memories like these are my favorite reminders why I did. It is such fun to see people’s faces light up with the joy of flying a few thousand feet above ground, of the beauty and freedom and peace of the skies.
I’ve flown 14 different passengers in that time; almost every flight I’ve taken has been with people, which I enjoy. I’ve heard “wow” or “beautiful” so many times, and said it myself even more times.
I’ve landed in two state parks, visited any number of wonderful small towns, seen historic sites and placid lakes, ascended magically over forests and plains. I’ve landed at 31 airports in 10 states, flying over 13,000 miles.
Not once have I encountered anyone other than friendly, kind, and outgoing. And why not? After all, we’re working around magic flying carpet machines, right?
(That’s my brother before a flight with me, by the way)
Some weeks it is easy to be glum. This week has been that way for many, myself included. But then, whether you are in the air or on the ground, if you pay attention, you realize we still live in a beautiful world with many wonderful people.
And, in fact, I got a reminder of that this week. Not long after the election, I got in a plane, pushed in the throttle, and started the takeoff roll down a runway in the midst of an Indiana forest. The skies were the best kind of clear blue, and pretty soon I lifted off and could see for miles. Off in the distance, I could see the last cottony remnants of the morning’s fog, lying still in the valleys, surrounding the little farms and houses as if to give them a loving hug. Wow.
Sometimes the flight is bumpy. Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate, and it doesn’t happen at all. Sometimes you can fly across four large states and it feels as smooth as glass the whole way.
Whatever happens, at the end of the day, the magic flying carpet machine gets locked up again. We go home, rest our heads on our soft pillows, and if we so choose, remember the beauty we experienced that day.
Really, this post is not about being a pilot. This post is a reminder to pay attention to all that is beautiful in this world. It surrounds us; the smell of pine trees in the forest, the delight in the faces of children, the gentle breeze in our hair, the kind word from a stranger, the very sunrise.
I hope that more of us will pay attention to the moments of clear skies and wind at our back. Even at those moments when we pull the hangar door shut.