The Friday Fictioneers’ photo prompts are always challenging as well as inspiring, but this week’s is especially meaningful. It represents where I spent more than half of my adult life–in and around airplanes–and Rich Vaza’s stunning photo brought out the occasional poet in me.
I’ll confess it. I love airplanes. I love the look of them, the feel of them, the smell of them. The emotions evoked while flying are sometimes better than sex. I can relive my first solo from thirty-plus years ago step-by-step, and I loved working around airplane people for three decades. We used to do a little riff in the office, usually to enliven a Monday morning. “I love the smell of jet fuel in the morning!” one would offer. “It’s the smell of freedom,” came the reply. (A far more appealing use of that phrasing that than offered by Robert Duval in Apocalypse Now, don’t you think?) I’m tickled pink that a recent switch in approach paths to Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport brings planes over my house. I love that noise, and I’d missed it.
And, yes, I take it too personally when someone, usually someone not in the know, says they’re dangerous or that they’re too afraid to get on board. Bottom line? You’re safer in an airplane than staying in your house, where home accidents take far more people a year than commercial aviation.
“Ad Astra” is a 100-word prose poem, one that’s probably far too maudlin and laudatory, but it’s how I feel. If you don’t see the link on the title, scroll to the Friday Fictioneers tab at the top of the page and select it from the drop-down list.