Looking down through the haze of 34 000′, I squinted at the little town of Tweed. Not as though anyone else looking out the Boeing 737 porthole windows knew this, since Tweed likely has only 12 000 people living in it, amounting to its murky circumference being the size of a tadpole. I had my VNC pulled out of my flight bag, a cat following a waggling string between my view out the window and my Visual Nautical Chart, I watched the scenery. That’s how I knew Tweed was the town nestled on the shore of that small round lake passing by at a lazy pace. Though, if this 737 was flying at the altitude I flew over Stoco Lake (Tweeds’ home shore) as I had earlier that day, I would be inclined to call the cops on Stoco Lake based on the speed it was clipping by!! The comparison of 34 000′ and 7 500′ is easy with regards to the visual reference, but not so easy regarding actual aircraft size and speed. It was this comparison that had my mind and heart jumping in glee, and also staring in wonder at the wonders of flight travel as my eyes gazed at the dimming landscape, and brightening towns.
It had been a long time since I was on a jet aircraft, so long ago I had been given the privilege to step onto the flight deck at cruise altitude over the ocean. I was 10, so you can guess the smiling faces I met, but not likely my impressions. Two thoughts were gleaned from standing in the aura of those Swiss airline pilots smiling at me. One, “Oh my… there’s so many buttons and things to look at! How to they look after it all? What are they for?!”. Two, “I never want to stop looking out this cockpit window… how are these pilots not entranced by it?”. That view is something that I’ve only come to really appreciate through my quest for it, and never do I regret this quest.
Immense training is required to become an airline pilot, not to mention the finances. Anyone who starts training to be an airline pilot is just like me, still that little girl looking out onto an expanse of clouds going over the horizon, and never wanting to look away. Dreamy, yes, very much so is flying part of a dream, and that’s what all those pilots are, realistic dreamers. That doesn’t go to say that, the dream can’t be forgotten.
Still, that little girl was bouncing in her seat at 34 000′, though she was in my heart (I’m not so silly to literally bounce in my seat). I hadn’t seen her in years, not since that trip to the cockpit before the times of invented terror. And, as I observed my view out the window, I knew that giddy girl wouldn’t be there had I not the learned knowledge about the land, the altitude, the aircraft, the atmosphere and what it takes to put them all together to make what I saw. That 737 flight put the wonder and dream back into my heart, now I’m left running after that giddy girl to try and keep her in line!
Just two short flights from Toronto to Ottawa and back to Toronto, in vastly different aircraft, at thousands of feet difference gave me the perspective on how close to home travel can open your eyes and awaken a dream.
PZ<3 - clrh -
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