Memories

Late September iPhone 1015

At this altitude taking pictures is fairly easy but on still has to be careful

The window is open and the warm wind whips through the cockpit carrying with it the pleasant scent of the damp evening air accompanied by the spruce trees lining the lakes shoreline…it’s as close to heaven as I can get while earthbound.

I’m concentrating on holding the camera steady with my right hand and framing my subject perfectly in the viewfinder while holding the stick with my left hand–it’s more art than science really.  I once told a dear friend I could use an extra set of hands and eyes during this part of the flight–she would have not only made the process much easier and safer, she would have felt what I felt, seen what I saw, and be moved like I was moved.

I can feel the vibration of my plane through the control stick and the throttle reverberate through every nerve ending in my hand as we fly northward towards the darkening mountains.  The plane is very nearly flying itself one hundred feet above the deep water as we cruise along at ninety miles per hour.  My hand is there on the controls only as a safety of sorts…my craft could fly itself like this for long periods of time without my intervention given the calm evening conditions, but I want to ensure we stay under control even should a stray gust of wind or other anomaly surprise us.

My eyes are drawn back to the left as I look out the open window at the only sunlight I’d seen all day.  This sunlight actually was the first anyone around this area had seen in a few days, a few days of grey, murky skies and heavily diffused sunlight.  But this sunlight I was seeing now was so welcome, so warm, so beautiful, and it would only last for a few more minutes.  This sunlight was slowly fading as the sun slipped more and more behind the mountainous horizon making its way to more exotic places than mine–creating a beautiful sunrise to offset my gorgeous sunset no doubt, in far away lands more foreign than where I sat.

I glance ahead to ensure all is well and we are not going to fly into any hillside or other obstruction, then back to the view finder for some last second adjustments before taking my hand off the stick and gently pushing the shutter button–forever capturing another memory.  After a quick check to make sure the picture is adequate, I roll the plane hard to the right and get back on course to my home base before night sets in.  Fate does not shine upon those who tempt it and I know without doubt landing a floatplane after dark is tempting fate.

Another successful flight, another memory locked away in my mind that will be with me until my last breath.  This life is exactly what I’ve been searching for and thankfully found…it keeps me sane, happy and whole.  Without these things in my life I would not be complete.  I suppose this life I found and built has a foundation based on being happy and content.  All things being equal, I suppose my life is in a state of symbiosis.  My friend would be proud.

Author: Shawn R Michaud

I've flown airplanes since I was a teenager and retired from the United States Navy after over 24 years of service. Now I fly commercially in addition to flying my Super Cub for fun.

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