Sunday, December 20, 2009

Traveling the world

Once when I was young I thought I would like to travel the world. I imagined myself the kind of person who could do that. I didn't know myself too well, instead I promptly fell in love, and committed myself to stability and a routine. I forced myself to write on a daily basis, worked hard on my writing and on making a living. My husband and I traveled a bit, though we were always pinching pennies. Once we had children, it took us a while to realize that we wanted to take them on an adventure. Ironically it was my children who forced me to travel again. And they're fine companions.

Amelia never felt that she wanted children, she assumed that having them meant being tied down. She was certainly correct in that assumption, she could hardly have risked life and limb with the same alacrity. For her home and hearth was counter-intuitive. She chose 'the journey.' As she wrote, "It may not be all plain sailing, of course, if one chooses to step out informally over strange country visiting unfamiliar landing fields. But the fun of it is worth the price."

I see her as someone who was both self possessed and driven. She was always careful when she wrote, choosing her words, choosing how to describe everything. She saw writing as a way to explain her choices, but not as a way to expose her inner workings. I imagine that she would find all of the self exposure that is the art of memoir today, incomprehensible.

I think for her flying was art. When she did it, she was completely in the moment. She was as engaged as any writer, or sculptor, or painter or musician. She was in touch and in tune. It wasn't traveling that mattered, not in the way we think of it anyhow. When she landed, she was like anyone else, touring the sights. But in midair, she was something altogether different.

It's her artistry that draws me in. Her passion for flying is the same as any other passion one has, if you give yourself to something you are transported. It's just that in her case the word had both literal and figurative meanings.

No comments:

Post a Comment