Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Logbook in Your Head

Not much flying for me these days. My still beautiful bride of 38 years is recovering from surgery and I'm staying home to do the requisite chores. Actually I am practicing up for retirement and finding I'm pretty good at it.

None-the-less, Thursday was so springlike I secured permission to leave her alone for a while (she was glad to be rid of me). I called Squatch to see if he wanted to take off work early and mount a Yak attack upon the unsuspecting peaceful countryside. No surprise; he was exceedingly like-minded.

We put our two rip-snorting flying tanks up into a February sky as pure as a blue sapphire, as smooth as a baby's butt,
and warm as a Hawaiian sea breeze. We waltzed around like we were riveted to each other, made earth and sky swap, swirl, and tumble―made the sun curse us for confusing it and abusing it. We dropped low over the Paint Rock River valley and watched our shadows race across farms, ponds, and woodlands.

We got back to the patch at sundown and plopped the Yaks onto the grass, rolled out and trundled back to the nests. A gratifying peacefulness grabbed hold of me as I closed the hangar door. Pete's not a man of sentimental wordiness, but I saw it too in his smile when I waved so long.

I slept soundly that night, just remembering that simple flight―one of 10,000 flights I've logged in my lifetime―not because it was better than the others but because it was today.

I'll get back to the Line in a couple of weeks―back to the rat-race; back to the restless masses, back to the not-so-gratifying life of a reserve airline pilot; back to the depressing and uncertain realm of management/labor wars.

Amidst all this dizzying tizzy I will occasionally find therapeutic refuge in the nose of Boeing 757 or 767 watching a sizable chunk of the planet unscroll out of the yonder world, and I'll file that satisfying experience away with the Yak flight and others.

Think of it: Suppose, as pilots, we had the ability to time stamp and mentally file away, some where in the gray matter, every flight we ever made, and be able to recall it and re-relish it. There would be two drawers, one for the flights you like to sleep on, and one for those you wish to keep on file only for purposes of not forgetting how fortunate you are to still be alive.

I make an effort to remember every flight as if I'm about to hang up my wings. When that time comes, I'll sleep on them all.  

Approaching a San city
 And another San city

A little vertical separation is a good thing.

Happiness is brake release.
The roll is freedom in motion.
The oppressive elements of earth are broken with back pressure...
We are alone.
--Ronald E. Pedro
"A Platform and a Passion"


Giulia said...

..."made the sun curse us for confusing it and abusing it"... :)

...but I'm sure the sky was happy you joined her in play...

Another wonderful post to read. Thank you.

Mike Carden said...

Alan, thanks for helping me remember clearly some of my best times in life, "dancing the skies on laughter-silvered wings". Still wonderful even if the dancing was only from the cockpit of a Cessna 150.

wayne in louisiana said...

good words. like "slipping the surly bonds of earth" but from a modern viewpoint.

btw, you will enjoy retirement. the best thing is NOT having to set the alarm clock. enjoy!

Squatch said...

As I closed up the hanger and waved, as I saw you and your trusty dog Coda leaving the airport, I was saddened that we wern't going to have time to reminisce and that I wouldn't be able to tell you in person how glad I was that you thought of me when you needed someone to chase you through the skies and over the woods. It was 45 minutes of sheer bliss and therapeutic calm that cleansed the mind and soul of the vexatious aspects of our lives.

Thanks for that!


Alan Cockrell said...

I was wrong. Squatch can wax colorful with the best of the prose hosers.

capnaux said...

Pure poetry, guys!

These blogs keep me reminded of my love for this flying life. So easy to get bogged down in the mundane and realize what a gift it truly is!

…Used to drive Twin Otters into SJU for TWA Express/Virgin Island Seaplane Shuttle in the late 80's. Nice to see the airspace again!

…and "Albuquerque Center" is an all-too-familiar radio call for me these days, lol!

Stop by my place some time… ;)


Giulia said...

Hi. Just checking in. No pressure...BUT...will you be writing a new post soon? *ha pressure, she says*

Hope you and your loved ones are well. I enjoy your posts very much.

Giulia said...

Hi. Just checking in. No pressure...BUT...will you be writing a new post soon? *ha pressure, she says*

Hope you and your loved ones are well. I enjoy your posts very much.

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