Monday, June 1, 2009

June begins

Poor Air France. Poor, poor, poor people.

My husband is a pilot. I am terrified of flying - even though I have experienced great beauty in flight. I am reading a book about train travel. I like to stay on the ground.


  1. Carl Sagan, no Paul Shepard, Laurence Gonzales? Someone, anyhow. In a plane, his face four inches from and some plastic between comfort and demise.

    We expend so much to travel so fast, it is the most unsustainable. Paul Virilio, there is only departure and arrival. In between there is nothing, a void. The safest void it is said.

    Just finished Ordeal by Hunger. Death by wagon train lasts 7 months. There is no time for fear when it is upon you, in an instant.

    A passenger in flight gives in and exorcises control. You hope the pilot, equipment, and weather are perfect. And forget.

    I didn't fly until I was 35.

  2. Your pics are always delightful but I particularly like the soft shades of pink rose... Nice one!

  3. I respectfully disagree with you, Frank. Unsustainable, yes. Give in and forget, no. I say the opposite. Pay attention and try to understand, let yourself be amazed. There is nothing in between, heck no. I find an incredible richness between departure and arrival. Introspection. Perspective. Changes. Growth.

    In the end, why do we become so lyrical about a rare airline catastrophe when tragedy is all around us, daily, and much more of a statistical risk to our very own life? Car accidents, drunk driving, cancer, genocides, wars, these are the real killers. But maybe we have given up control in those instances too...

  4. Frank and Beence - I do have to forget - hope that everything is working, will work, will not be interfered with...

    In general, of course the journey, the inbetween-ness can be wonderful. Sometimes I think the purity of some of my flying experiences - flying over Africa with cumulus storms flashing on the horizons - are precisely because I feel so close to death. Perhaps perversely because when I land and take off I breathe properly, more deeply than at other times in my life, in order to calm myself.I try to empty myself and to think only of who and what loves me, and who and what I love, so that, if I die, they are with me. Perhaps I should live like that more often :-)

    Beence - of course you right about statistics, and the overal safety of flying. The reason it resonates, though, is because we all fly sometimes, and because it is unusual. Because we can imagine, we think, the terror. And because we are humans. With legs, not wings. It is a long way down. I am afraid of heights. Because we are so far from everything and everybody?

    I think it is wonderful that we can fly. Wonderful that I can travel so many thousands of miles every year.

    And Sigrid- thank goodness for roses.

  5. As always, I love your roses. I just made a grumpy gardener post on my blog about my roses so I thought I'd look through yours again for some hope.
    I am so sad about the Air France tragedy. I need to turn msnbc off for awhile and go for a swim or something.

  6. I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds and done a hundred thiings you have not dreamed of wheeled and soard and swung high in the sunlit silence Hovring there I've chased the shouting wind along and fllung my eager craft through footless halls of air... And while with silent lifting mind I've trod the high untrespassed sanctity of space put out my hand and touched the face of God
    John Gillespie Magee (1922-1941)

  7. Right back at ya, Judi :-):

    An Irish Airman foresees his Death

    I know that I shall meet my fate
    Somewhere among the clouds above;
    Those that I fight I do not hate
    Those that I guard I do not love;
    My country is Kiltartan Cross,
    My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
    No likely end could bring them loss
    Or leave them happier than before.
    Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
    Nor public man, nor cheering crowds,
    A lonely impulse of delight
    Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
    I balanced all, brought all to mind,
    The years to come seemed waste of breath,
    A waste of breath the years behind
    In balance with this life, this death.

    WB Yeats

  8. Oh Colleen, I should be truthful. I should be posting the black spot pictures.

    You gotta: (hm) ac-SCENT-tuate the po-si-tive...etc

  9. Before I flew the first time, I researched every possible thing I could about flight, its dynamics, how planes were built, their tolerances. My wife needed me to fly. I needed to feel some control. Like learning how to swim at 35.

    I cannot argue Virilio's point for him, but I can see how our taste for speed creates voids in perception and experience. We are sitting still, and the world is rushing by when it truly is the opposite. If I did not have that sensitivity to the reality of the experience, I could sleep during flight. Tokyo and back, not a wink. Of course, there is no going back. And as I suggested, wagons could be more miserable when things went awry.

    But you are right to suggest that we maybe have given up control in those more deadly, more common concerns. Or that we have accepted them, accepted the terms.

    I like roses too.

  10. Oooohhh....My favorite way to live is to be present in the moment as best I can. It's the only thing we can be sure of. To be aware, to notice, to feel what is happening right now. A challenge, I know, but very often, worth the effort.

  11. not sure what happened with the link to my comment above. blogger snafu. anyhow, it was me, at sewandsowlife


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