Wednesday, December 30, 2009

leaving home and second chances

I think of how it felt, leaving home for the first time. Imbued with a sense of what was possible, but always aware of how easily one could get caught. If Amelia got to choose to live her life again, would she do what she'd done before? Would she believe that this was her best opportunity to complete that task, to finish that journey, to circumvent the globe again? Would she regret too much, or too little? We all have regrets, they're what comes to us when we first wake, the echo of the dream that we can't quite recall, the things we should have said to those we've lost or have lost touch with, the harsh words we've spoken that should have been held back. I think about Amelia and about her regrets and I think about how life unfolds. Here, not in my usual perch but on the other side of the Atlantic, in the city where she was feted so many years ago, I wonder about regret, about the road not taken. Amelia looking down from above, sees in such a different way from the rest of us. We are caught in our own lives, we are in awe of the smaller things, the way the sun slants in the afternoon as I look out the door of my kitchen at my children, so much smaller, racing each other across the hot summer grass. The smell of summer comes back to me. And that time too. Moments of happiness like snapshots, all that we get down below. Above the world is a map and you ride on, oblivious. Down here it is all about the moment, when he first kissed me, when he first let down his guard and when I let down mine, life is filled with things one doesn't expect, for Amelia too I believe that would come. She would think she was meant to go on as before, but then she'd realize, second chances come for a reason.


  1. If Amelia were to get a second chance to live her life, one of the most obvious unfinished tasks she might try to complete would be her round-the-world flight. And I think the persistence that drove her to reorganize the flight and start again after the crackup in Hawaii would keep driving her to complete it even though it wouldn't have the same meaning, in terms of record-setting, in the latter part of the 20th century. Since the early 1960's there have been a number of world flights in small aircraft, including one at the equator. I think this time around she'd have to complete the flight just to prove to herself she could do it, rather than for a record. And, with navigation technology much improved over what existed in 1937, her chances of success would be much better.

  2. I agree . . . she spends some time doing just this in my novel, but in the end, well, let's just say I hope you won't be disappointed.