I love airplanes….


I don’t always love being on them, but I do love what they represent to me.  And that is freedom of movement and adventure. 

I was just on a flight back from Cleveland and I was NOT excited about the fact that it was my second of what would be three round trips within a week, although I was excited about being home for two days.  Anyway, there were two young men flying on the same plane, going through Dallas, on their way to basic training for the U.S. Army.  It was very obvious that they had not been on a plane before; one, more than the other was nervous as well as in awe.  It made me think back to my first time on a plane.  Well the first time I can remember anyway.   We didn’t fly much as kids in my family, so my first real memory of flight was going to Disney World with my then girlfriend and her family.  I was 17, I think.  I remember trying to act like I was a pro, and not let on that I was really scared.  I mean they have vomit bags for a reason, I assumed.  I was sure I would have to be the one to use it, so I made sure that I knew exactly where it was so I could grab it quickly if the urge hit me.  Luckily, it never did, and never has.  I remember looking out the window and watching things get smaller; just exactly the way that this young man did.  I was almost a little jealous of the feeling that he must have been experiencing at the time, to tell you the truth.  But then again, I had my turn. 

I have since grown a little older, gotten a little greyer, been through the military myself, and then started my career.  I now fly tens of thousands of miles every year.  I have become jaded against flight because of that fact in many ways.  But at the same time, I still love to watch a plane fly.  I sometimes imagine that there is someone on each flight that I follow across the sky who is the happiest they have been in a very long time.   Perhaps they are visiting a loved one they have longed for and missed dearly.  At the same time, there must be someone on that exact plane that is very saddened by their journey.  Maybe leaving a lover, or missing their child’s first play.  And then there is the “road warrior”, which is what we still call those who travel for a living, even though “sky soldier” is more appropriate these days.  They experience so much opportunity; so much sacrifice.  And then there is the leisure traveler.  They are just happy to be away from it all for a little while. 

So yes, I do love airplanes, and I hate airplanes, but most of all, I need them.  As we all do.  The next time you are headed for a flight, take a minute and remember the beginning of your journey.  Not that flight necessarily, but your journey.  Think about the young soldiers on that flight from Cleveland, and where they are going.  I guess flying represents freedom in more ways than one to me.


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