Thursday, November 12, 2009

why we all need to fly

Amelia defied her father's wishes and took lessons from Neta Snook. Now there's a name. She had discovered her passion, but what drew her to it? I think it was the same sensation I used to have when I'd jump a horse and we'd be suspended in midair. Yes I know, girls and their horses, but that wasn't what it was about. No Freudian imagery please, it was incredible. Simply incredible. A rush, and not the kind you get when you've taken drugs. Not that one at all. Aloft, without anyone or anything holding you back. Of course then the horse landed, and off we went to prepare for the next man made barrier.

Flying used to be fun. It was when I was a kid. Amelia did it for The Fun of It, right? It used to be a way to escape, now it's just drudgery. They stick you in seats that press you up against your companions. They ignore you when you ask for refills and charge you for a bag of stale peanuts, the airlines cut costs and make the experience miserable. But when I was growing up it was glamorous. And when I went off to college in Madison, I'd get into that plane and imagine my whole life was about to be different. Taking off I'd look back at New York City, at the way the boroughs were laid out, at the water curving between all that land and then it would be gone and I'd be gone and the world was filled with possibilities. Life was too.

That's what Amelia must have felt when she went up in a plane for the first time. Imagine controlling that, having that always as an option. You could always escape to a place where no one held onto you. Where you were truly free.

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