I love to fly. I love admiring the clouds and marveling that I'm in what was once considered to be the sphere of the gods. I love that my cell phone is turned off and that my most burning responsibility is the book I toted aboard. (Sometimes I think I'll be one of the last people with a real book in her hands on the plane.) It's rather amazing so many people know what the sky looks like above cloud line. Most of us don't even question (or understand) the technology that let's us mere mortals jet through the sky.
I don't think about the potential hazards of defying gravity, until the plane starts shaking and I notice the wing flexing. I know there must be a really good explanation for turbulence. Most of the people around me calmly continue watching their movies, swiping the pages on their electronics books, and, in general, take no notice. But the fact is, turbulence can cause me to break into sweat and start making promises to live a better life. I look out the window of the plane and think: what makes us think we belong in the air?
I was on a bush plane flight a couple years ago where it felt like the plane was barely going to make it off the ground, much less stay in the sky. It was not a good day to fly--the wind raged, snow was blinding--but, I was determined to get home to my dog. It was the last plane that left the town for a good week because of the angry, inclement weather. I should never have gotten on it, but I did. I was fine, am fine, except that now, bumps in the air remind me how much I do not want to experience falling 10,000 feet in an airplane.
The sky was once the province of gods and goddesses, and now we take for granted relatively fast flights that connect us to family, friends, and adventures. Myself, I'm enjoying family time on the Oregon Coast this week. 10,000 feet of imagined calamity unrealized--for of course, the little bit of turbulence never really put the plane in jeopardy But still, imagining my fall to the ground, while perhaps dramatic, gave me a really good reminder of how little control we actually have, and what a tremendous act of faith it is to get on the plane in the first place.