Please Note: This journal contains a wide variety of stuff — complete stories, bits and pieces, commentary, and who-knows-what else. As is always the case these days, the material is protected by copyright. On the other hand, I publish it here to be shared. Feel free to pass it on. Just give me credit. Fair enough?

Pack Creek Ranch, San Juan County, Utah.
The third week of October, 2016
Crystal clear and calm both day and night for a stretch.
Bright moon at night.

Considerations – before you read on:
To begin with:  Though I grew up in Waco, Texas – “Way-Co Tex-us” – I’m about to tell you about the Waco Biplane –
pronounced “Wah-Co.”
The plane has no connection to Texas – it’s produced in Battle Creek, Michigan, by the Waco Classic Aircraft Corporation.
Second, the Waco biplane I flew in is not a rickety vintage antique, but a modernized reproduction, with fully upgraded systems – digital avionics and modern safety equipment – and, very important – heat in the cockpit.
Finally, there’s no wing-walking allowed.  I asked . . .

UP IN A WACO

One of the few items marked off my bucket list is #21 “Flying my own plane.”
It’s too late now. I’m too old and forgetful – and forgetful is not good for flying.
Somehow, my life circumstances were never just right to learn.
That doesn’t mean I’ve not flown whenever I had the chance.
I’ve been up in small planes, gliders, hot-air balloons, and sat in the co-pilot’s
seat and “flew” a single-engine plane for a while when it was safe to do so.
Once I even jumped out of a plane in a parachute – and once was enough.
That felt more like dying than flying.
And I’ve flown a zillion miles in commercial jet liners.
But that’s not flying, either – it’s time-travel in a titanium tube.

A biplane seemed like the best way to fly.
Slow – 80 mph cruising speed – more like floating than flying.
Direct sensory experience of being out there and up there in the air.
Safe – two wings are better than one.
And I could very lightly touch the control stick with my fingers to feel what
the pilot behind me was doing. A kind of secondary semi-flying experience.
And so it came to pass.

All credit to pilot Nick Lamoureux of Redtail Air, who sensed what I wanted and kept his commentary on the experience to a thoughtful minimum.
It is a compliment to him and the flight that I kept my mouth shut the whole time.
Usually incapable of not talking, I was speechless during the whole trip, because I was so enchanted by being up there and out there. Not multi-tasking for a change.
Just single tasking as a passenger with nothing to do but be there.
Enough prose – here’s a poem I wrote this morning when thinking about flying.

FLIGHT

It’s raining, and the poets
Are staring still out of
their windows having
feelings and thoughts.

Death, and dying, dead –
they write and write:
We’re all going to
Die, Die, Die!

I know,
I know,
I know, but why . . .
Why do you think I care?

It’s not raining and the
Poets lie still in their
beds thinking they will
Die, Die, Die!

In the meanwhile I
Am out there flying
In an open cockpit bi-plane
A very mellow yellow one.

Thinking that if I
ever, ever thought of
suicide I would do this
first and not want to die.

No, no dying poet I –
Just a man in the air
Shouting into the windy sky
MANALIVE!
MANALIVE!
MANALIVE!

_________________________________________

If you want a visual taste of what I experienced, go to YouTube and bring up the flight scene from the film, “Out Of Africa.”
Out of Africa youtube

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