Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Solitary Goose


Not everyone wants to fly solo


grassrootsThe morning sun had yet to break over the horizon, and as I speed-walked my usual early morning, let’s-get-the-blood-flowing-and-the-joints-loose route, I could actually see my breath. Light frost crusted the yards—a rare but not unknown happening here in the desert. Then I heard a single honk overhead and glanced up: Instantly, I felt just a little melancholy.
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LONELY FLYER. A Canada goose skimming over ice at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
The morning sun had yet to break over the horizon, and as I speed-walked my usual early morning, let’s-get-the-blood-flowing-
and-the-joints-loose route, I could actually see my breath. Light frost crusted the yards—a rare but not unknown happening here in the desert. Then I heard a single honk overhead and glanced up: Instantly, I felt just a little melancholy.

The honker was a single Canada goose. He wasn’t part of one of those marvelously fluid wedges of his brethren on the way to warmer climes. He was alone, which isn’t a natural state for geese. They normally mate for life, so flying in pairs is their natural mode of transport. I found watching him (or her) gracefully winging through the predawn sky a little sad. An unknown tragedy had occurred, and I was watching an aviator alone. I couldn’t help but think about the human aviator and how some of us are so closely allied to the solitary soul overhead.

Some of us live a life that appears very solitary in nature, but actually isn’t. In my case, if I’m not flying, I’ll sometimes go for weeks without leaving my property. I’ll be psychologically strapped into my computer chair as if the rest of the world doesn’t exist. Which, of course, isn’t true at all: Because of the computer, I’m constantly conversing with hundreds of other aviators worldwide, many of whom have become my good friends even though we’ve never met face to face. Folks like me may look like loners, but we really aren’t.

Another reason that most of us who are self-employed and appear to be hibernating in our cubbyholes aren’t actually loners is because we seldom live alone. The “AZ Redhead” (aka Marlene) is the other half of my existence without whom I couldn’t do what I do or be who (or what) I am. I wish I had coined the line, “You complete me”—from Jerry Maguire—because it fits so well and explains a good marital flight team so precisely. We’re partners to the core.

It’s because of my connection with the AZ Redhead—and my desire to share the flying experience with her—that I don’t own certain types of airplanes. I have, for instance, lusted after the Midget Mustang since I was a teenager, when I first discovered the racy-looking little aluminum arrow. I’ve been lucky enough to fly several, and for my entire adult life, they’ve whispered in my ear, tempting me to buy the plans, pick up a stack of aluminum sheets and start beating rivets. I’m forever scanning the pages of Trade-A-Plane for a super deal on one, knowing full well that I’ll never actually buy it.




Labels: Pilot Talk

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