I’ve never understood the mystery and aura of flight. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in an age when air travel was more of a chore than an adventure. Flying on a big ol’ jet airliner has always been just a drag: crowded, uncomfortable, smelly, and recently full of fear and long lines at security checkpoints.
So when I was invited by one of my dad’s work mates, Tom Reeves, to take a spin in his little Stinson Flying Station Wagon, I wasn’t quite sure how to feel.
“Don’t worry,” Tom said. “If you get scared, we can come right down.” Scared? Well, yes, I was, a little. The little blue plane seemed much smaller than the sky. But I thought, my mother had gone up in this plane, and she wasn’t scared. If my mother could do it, so could I.
We taxied down a nice smooth road and then took off from a grass runway. A grass runway! I’d never heard of that. Was it safe? Was grass level enough? Would the plane hit a gopher hole and crash? Good heavens! The nose of the Stinson rose into the air. I held my breath.
Then the green swale dropped below us and the land spread out into patterns of olive, brown, purple and gold. I thought my heart would explode. In every direction I looked I could see the horizon, while below us the earth scrolled out like an endless painting. The little blue plane hung faithfully in clear blue space and we were flying.
It took a while, but I was finally able to close my mouth. And then I laughed out loud.
I was flying.
Now I understand the lure of flight. And I can’t wait to figure out how to get back into the skies.
You can view Tom Reeve’s aerial photography at http://www.pbase.com/wbyonder.