Friday, March 21, 2008

I will fly

In just a few weeks the ice will start to thaw from the lake beside which my parents live, the lake from which I have, hundreds of times, launched my father’s float plane off the water and into the sky.

In just a few weeks there will be stretches of open water large enough for me to successfully maneuver more than half a tonne of aluminum and steel through the last remnants of this bitter winter and into the spring sunshine.

I do not know if my first spring flight will feel different this year, equipped as I am, with the knowledge that the sky has stolen someone dear to my family’s heart.

I do not yet know if the small flicker of excitement (apprehension?) that flutters in my stomach every spring will this year grow into something that feels like fear.

It is part of the appeal of flying, this flicker, this spark, this dynamic connection to the exotic part of me, wild and free, that exists almost entirely these days in my mind’s eye.

The ability to court and then ultimately harness this flicker is addictive. To feel my stomach flutter and then to soothe it with calm, capable and steadfast preparation for flight is to reassure myself that I can conquer anything with proper preparation and steely determination: it never loses its appeal.

I have written before about how age seems to chip away at my courage and nerve. I have lamented this steady retreat of daring and confidence and expressed my fear that advancing years will steal it entirely.

So many of you have written me this week and offered your love and support. One of you, Sara, wrote something so beautiful that I have carried it in my heart for days.

“I know nothing about flying, but I do know something about loss and fear. I know that you can't let fear steal your desire to do something that brings you joy.”

She’s right of course. And so I won’t.

I will fly this spring not in spite of the fact that it has the power to scare me, but because it has the power to scare me.

I will fly because when I open the throttle, aim the plane’s nose into the sweet spot and finally lift the machine from its earthy bounds, I’m not just a wife and mother anymore; I’m the girl I used to be. I’m the girl who’s not afraid of anything: the girl who has the confidence and the power to conquer every obstacle – physical, mental or emotional – that is put in her path.


When the ice goes out of the lake this year I will climb into my father’s float plane and embrace whatever washes over me. And if it feels like an obstacle, I will start the engine anyway, secure in the knowledge that it is no match for my experience, my training and my inner strength.

I will think about a man I admired who met a tragic end far too early and I will remember how he lived his life with bravado and colour and a sense of possibility.

And for the sake of preserving not only his vision, but that of the wild and free girl living in my mind’s eye, I will open the throttle and look skyward.

I will leave my doubts and my fears and my insecurities far behind.

And I will fly.

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54 comments:

SaraLynn said...

This is beautiful....
I look forward to reading the post after the first flight.

My thoughts are still with you and your family.

Kat said...

I agree with Saralynn. That was a wonderful post and I hope that you will still enjoy the freedom that is flying despite your family's loss.

Awesome Mom said...

Life is full of dangers, so you might as well enjoy it. I love the feeling of being scared to do something, pushing past the fear and doing that thing when you were not sure you could. It is the best! I hope that you have a fun flight.

Cheri said...

So here's my two cent's worth: I do not like to fly, mainly because of the small potential for crashing and dying in a fiery ball of glory. But that potential is VERY small. But still. I didn't mind the flying and potential dying when I was childless, but after having kids, I did mind if I died and left them orphaned or took them down with me in the crash. Either way. Then I started looking at it like this (and when I did no longer needed to fly under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, hee hee):

(1) I did not want my kids to be afraid to fly and knew that if they knew that I was then they might take on that fear too; and

(2) Once I'd decided that I would be flying to my destination (often it is really the only feasible way to get where you want to go), then it would be up to me as to HOW I would spend my time during the flight. I could white knuckle and be scared shitless the whole time, or I could relax and enjoy the moment (which does come with the added benefit of no errands to run, phones to answer, etc.). Since I cannot control whether the plane stays up or down, I set to work controlling what I could: Enjoying the time for fun, relaxation, reading, and playing with my child.

P.S. Sorry about the list. Since NaBloPoMo this month, everything in my brain is numerically sequenced.

Have fun.

Magpie said...

Of course you'll fly.

That was a lovely post.

Amy said...

It is clear to me that everything you write comes directly from your heart. Your words are beautifully composed. I am sure your flight will be as well. I wish you the best, you must do whatever it is that makes you happy. In your case, you must fly - soar!!!

I will still keep your family and friends in my prayers.

I hope you find peace and magic in your flight. Be well and Happy Easter!

April said...

I'm so glad that you're in this place with it now. I too can't wait to read about it once you fly.

Damselfly said...

Thank you for that. I love it. Isn't it funny how sometimes the things we love are also the things that bring fear?

Kami said...

Amazing post, and you will fly!

And you will love it just as your uncle did.

I don't know him or you but I think this is exactly what he would want.

:-)

Melody said...

Good for you! Think of your continued flight as a fitting tribute to you loved one.

I loved this post - it was beautiful.

Laura said...

What a wonderful post. A wonderful tribute in memory is to do what was loved and flying was a love...and is a love. Soar high my friend - in the sky, with memories and with life.

krissy said...

You won't fly....you'll soar!

Kitty said...

I can totally relate to that sense of loss of fearlessness - I felt it too. I don't know what happened though - about 3 years ago, it started going back the other way, and now I feel more confident again. I hope the same happens for you.

Take care. x

Kristen said...

What a beautiful post!

You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers as well.

Dawn said...

I admire you so much. You've opened my eyes a bit to the appeal of flying. God bless your family during this difficult time.

sky girl said...

There's such strength and power in your words. You never fail to move me.

xo

skiplovey said...

You have great spirit. So glad to hear your resolve.

My thoughts are with you and your family.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I think that our diminishing adventurousness as we age is directly related to the number of people that depend on us.

But you are totally right that you must work through it; otherwise you will not be you anymore, and that would be sad.

OHmommy said...

Beautiful post Diva. You are one strong woman. Anyone in your path can see that.

Hoping the Winter thaws soon so you can spread your wings. MWAH!

Corey~living and loving said...

I am proud of you...can't say I could do it...but if you can....that is wonderful. I firmly believe we need to do things we enjoy, or why be here?

great post. really wonderfully written.

Jenifer said...

Life must be lived and savored. Enjoy your flight.

Kimmylyn said...

You really are amazing. this post is beautifully written but I am really impressed with how fearless you are.. your courage.

As others have stated, i look forward to your post flight feelings.. :)

Isabelle said...

Well, I too admire you but I hate flying with a passion. It feels very dangerous - even though I know that statistically it's relatively safe. I don't feel I was designed to fly...

Very sorry for your loss.

Easter blessings.

Law Student Hot Mama said...

You know, I think Momness is stealing my daredevil nature. It's not that I've become afraid to do things, it's more that I've become afraid of the possible outcomes of my decisions.

That being said, it's important to do what you love. Keep at it, sister!

Karen said...

I so admire your spirit! I'd love to soar into the sky with you, and I'm so glad that you're continuing the tradition.

Amy said...

It's important that you don't fear what you love. Live your life by doing the things you enjoy.

Hetha said...

This post is just dripping with inspiration, thanks for writing it. It's beautifully stated.

Brittany said...

It will be a beautiful flight! I cannot wait to hear about it!

The Boyds Family said...

I think this will be one of the most special flights you have ever had, with the memories of your loved one and the knowledge that you didn't let fear stop you from doing something you love....

I can't wait to read the post after this first flight.

Take Care!

Mommy Cracked said...

I love your determination, even in the face of great loss. I'm proud of you and can't wait to hear about your adventures!

Joanna said...

I think you are already flying - you have a lot of determination and spirit. What more could you need? I mean, besides the tons of training and hours and all that technical stuff. :)

Sue said...

You go girl!

Dayna said...

I started a comment last night, abandonded it, and want to try again.

December 06 we lost my husband's coworker and best friend in a helicopter crash. I can remember at the time asking my husband, and some of his coworkers how they could ever get into a helicopter again - and everyone of them said "It's in our blood, it's who we are, how could we not."

Are there always lessons learned? Yes. Do we hope we take the lessons of those whose missions have not been completed and apply them everytime we step foot in an aircraft - of course - but the biggest lesson of all - is to live and enjoy life while we can, because it is not always here. Life is precious, and short and we have to enjoy every minute and every day - because one day, it will be gone. It's not the years in our life that matter - it's the life in our years.

This was read at the memorial for the crew - I hope it lends you the same comfort it always lends me.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth.
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings,
Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind swept heights with easy grace,
Where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
And, while with silent, lifting mind i've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

John Gillespie Magee Jr

LaskiGal said...

You have an amazing way with words--to pull us, to grab our hearts, and reveal a truth . . .

What anticipation. What exhilaration. What determination. What an adventure!!!

Tara R. said...

That was beautiful... so many emotions ran through me as I read this. Yes, you'll fly again, and you'll leave that fear earthbound.

Thanks for sharing and hope to hear about your first flight too.

MissGotWings said...

Enjoy! I can't wait to read how it goes for ya! Embrace the skies and the danger and the thrill. Love your site - will be back to read more :)

Huckdoll said...

You can do it, you will do it and you will love it. When a passion is that intense, nothing or no one will stand it it's way.

JCK said...

This was a gorgeous, raw post. I loved it!

Am adding you to my blog roll. And I can't wait to hear of your adventures!

Just Janice said...

Good for you! I can't wait to read bout your flying adventures this Spring!

meagan@meplusthree.us said...

Great post sweetie. You can do it. :) Can't wait to see the update!

a kelly said...

My husband had a love and almost obsession with planes. He never had the opportunity to fly but endlessly read and researched. At his funeral, my uncle who was a pilot during the war said John knew more about the planes than anyone he had ever met. To read about your love of flying just reminds me of him and it warms my heart. Strange thing in this blog world that I am proud of you and I don't even know you...
Your courage brings us all up a little higher. Thanks. You are one awesome woman.

Reluctant Housewife said...

You write beautifully. And I agree with everyone else - You're amazing.

Sue said...

I am not a woman of profound words very often, so I can't offer you much in the way of wisdom today. I wish you strength and joy this year.

Karen MEG said...

You will fly and you will soar, because it is so much a part of who you are. Brave and beautiful.

Thinking of you and your family this Easter weekend...

C said...

That was beautiful! I can't help but feel so excited for you! You are very brave!

Have a lovely weekend! XOXO

nomotherearth said...

What a lovely post. I will share with you a favourite quote of mine "A life lived in fear is a life half-lived." Happy flying!

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

Can I just say how much I love when you write about flying. My heart soars with yours thanks to your lovely words.
Sara's quote speaks to me too. After losing a child to stillbirth, the idea of carrying another filled me with fear. But the rewards of motherhood are so worth pain. I can risk my heart to experience such joy as I have getting to know a wonderful little person that God chooses to bless me with.
I wouldn't wonder that as you fly again, your cousin's spirit will soar with you through the skies you both so love.

John-Michael said...

You, My Darling and most Precious of Life's gifts, have just opened the skies over my Spirit and given lift and limitless altitude to my very soul. Your generous grace and tender presentation of your heart reinforce the already-present adoration that I hold for the marvelous Person that you are. I am grateful for the privilege of knowing of you.

I love You.

Kathryn said...

That was beautiful! I had no doubt you would fly again. :)

E said...

Beautiful post.
And so of course you will fly. You will fly in tribute and in joy...

Jennifer said...

Fly high and free, you.

caramama said...

I got shivers reading this post and my eyes welled up. That was beautiful.

It's too easy to get caught up in our fears, too easy to NOT do something. But it's so important to keep doing the things we love, the things that make us US, even if we are a bit afraid.

Go fly. Enjoy what you love and who you are. Then, write us and tell us all about it!!!

Shellie said...

If the first time you fly is hard, just keep doing it. It took me years to be able to drive down the freeway comfortably again after a loss, but you just have to get back in the driver's seat and live.

wheelsonthebus said...

Lovely post. About courage and being who we are, finding our self-expression.