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Love Song Of An Old Pilot To His Wife

Gordon and I are watching a spectacular sunrise following a sweet rain that poured steadily through the night. Mists are rising from the valleys and white and grey clouds are scudding across the sky, illumined by the rising sun.

With his deep voice, he comments how this would be a great morning to fly, and begins to recite the first lines of the famous poem, ‘I have slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced on laughter’s spangled skies….”

The memories flood in of our years of flying together.. of our first plane, a Taylorcraft with broad wings, as close to a glider as a plane can get, a sweet and honest airplane, simple and unadorned. We both loved to fly this plane and it required skill. The 65 horse aircraft was a two seater, side by side, and we often made ‘go arounds’ for landing, taking turns trading the controls back and forth with practiced ease.

“You and I together,” he mused, “ caressing the sky with our wings, feeling the lift and solidity of the air under them, under us, yet it was so insubstantial, too.” His voice trailed off. Then with warm light in his eyes, he continued, “What we did was sheer poetry – poetry in motion, feeling for the validity of the air beneath our wings….yet so delicate… testing the buoyancy of the air, easing down on final to land, making the translation with the touch of our finger tips, the delicacy of that touch in creating the interface between sky and earth, “Hold it off, hold it off, hold it off!” till the magic moment of touchdown,when flying is ended and the ground run on solid earth begins. He smiled, “It was poetry, it was sublime.”

The caress, the delicacy, the interface, the sublime and wondrous translation… and the joy.

The thoughts are poignant ones. The skills to fly are now past for us and not too long from now we will be making the transition,the translation, the delicate testing of how we are moving forward into the unknown, leaving the firmness of the ground (and the body) to slip back again into new flight, into the light and air of the heavens. God willing to heaven itself! May the memories of a life fully lived be the buoyant, caressing air beneath our wings!

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