Commuters, businessmen, holidaymakers – all walk onto an aircraft, perhaps glimpse something out of the window and possibly marvel just a little. But the essentials of human flight have become just another form of transport.
Yet the magic of actual flight lingers – for those of us who both want and need it.
The morning yet to come is cold, fog embraces an airfield still in darkness. The hangar doors open with squeaking protest. The machine behind those doors seems to quiver with expectancy – but you know it is no more than an assembly of components, just as you know she is so much more when in her element.
The desire to just go presses, but there are things to do. Pre-flight inspections, stowage of baggage, weight calculations – all so mundane and a barricade against what you yearn for but know you must first do.
At last she is alight, the engine warming, the sun not yet up but light filling the sky. There are so many miles ahead as you roll over the turf to the runway’s end.
Then, at last, you apply full power – she comes to life, wings biting into the to cold air, lifting, and then rising, leaving the ground beneath, and your soul begins to find peace again.
You leave below you the still misty river, the fragments of lifted fog forming low cloud which you dance around, and climb into a sparkling sky within a warming day.
Later you will return. Many miles behind you, new faces and new places seen as an enrichment to your life; the job you travelled for now accomplished, but your personal being given extra dimension by the tapestry of ground that you covered, observed and so dwelt upon within your mind.
But now the flight draws to a close with the sun going down and painting the airfield golden. Grass brushes against the wheels as the aircraft approaches her own rest. A smooth and gentle rumble of rolling onto the ground, speed now abating and flight is no more.
The mechanics of the taxi to the hangar, more squeaking doors, bird put to bed, personal stiffness and tiredness after the long flight – your real lady awaiting with the evening meal and doubtless with bookings from eager students, just tapping on the door of the sky.
Please, show me what you do, how you do it. Take me there, and let me make it mine.
So tomorrow you will fly again and remember yesterday as your own, whilst seeing this new day as opportunity to share with others both the peace and challenge which has dominated your own life, and so make it theirs.
– Tony Hayes
Toogoolawah, Queensland, Australia.