Remember a sound.
January 19 prompt, “A Writer’s Book of Days”
Listen to the air.
Glorious air. Moving air. Air turned unstill by turning of engine parts. The sound of a hum of wheels and gears and things I can’t don’t know and have never seen inside of an airplane engine.
The hum. Not a high hum like a tension wire. Not rev rev rev like a race car’s. A roaring hum much like the ocean’s. Yes, that’s it. The sound of a small plane’s engine when you’re inside the plane and flying is like that. The hum of an ocean in the sky.
I feel fortunate and blessed to have a father who flew and flew a small plane, not commercial aircraft. The sensations and sounds of flying are so intimate. Nothing like those of commercial planes. Where you can get up and move around. Where you can listen to airplane audio or a movie or an iPad.
Or just as likely 10 shouting spoiled brats completely unsupervised and undisciplined by their “parents.”
In a small plane, you remain seated and belted the entire flight. If you’re tall, the seating is cramped. If you’re short, the seating is cramped. There is no radio to listen to except the spurts of aviation chatter between control towers and pilots, pilots and pilots and pilot and passenger — all through headphones.
There is only the deep loud hum of an engine in motion interspersed with occasional announcements of aircraft position required by law. (That every pilot adheres to law is no, they do not.) If you speak to another without headphones, you shout. If you move, you move not very far.
Nothing separates you from the air except the skin. Our bodies are designed identically, now that I think on it. Thin skin made of metal (aluminum, I presume, though perhaps the industry’s invented even lighter and stronger materials that better withstand forces of flight without added bulk and weight).
The cockpit door is right there. Right there, on your right if you’re the front passenger. Inches away. The door handle, too, right there. Inches away. It can be turned with one or two hands, depending on your strength.
It would be so easy to simply turn the handle during a flight and jump into the sound: the WHOOOOOOOOOSHHHHHH of air currents. Actually it wouldn’t be quite as easy as all with air pressure against the door. Still, the point is made about the intimacy of a small plane. It’s not like a Delta (are they even still in business?) or United.
The roar of a small plane’s engine in motion is as near the ocean’s as I’ve experienced in a lifetime of listening to sounds. Or, to describe it another way, it’s like the roar from a conch shell placed against the ear only the sound envelopes your head and the whole of you, not only the eardrum.
I was given a gift through my father and because of my father who so loved to fly. The gift of the sound of air, intimately. From up high. High above the earth and her peoples (and annoying people). High in the metaphorical heavens where space is freedom and freedom space. The place where birds go, travel and reside.
The sound of freedom is the wind. And, because of my dad, I got to sample that wind from the inside of a 4-seater Mooney, securely in the capable hands of a pilot who took flying seriously. (Not all pilots do; there’s no shortage of dickheads who fly unsafely, after drinking, etc.) What a gift and life experience.
Yes, the sound of freedom is the wind. The motion of the air coursing beneath and over the wings. I have my father to thank for the gifts of (intimate) flying. The stuff of dreams of man.
I alo have the eagle, my totem, my protector and my guide, to acknowledge and honor. I see feel and know your presence. And at this odd, complicated and challenging time of life, I beckon your guidance and your vision, broader than mine here on earth, so that I may take the direction designed by Spirit.
My dad is no longer here but his love of flying is. I see our common threads too.
And, eagle, I hear your sound. Your calls and the sound and song of wind over your wings. The wind. The sound of life. The sound of freedom.