GLIDER CHRONICLES 2011 – August 11th : Feeling Connected with the World

I have just been watching yet another TED talk about the disconnect between humanity and the world. The speaker was quite angry at times and, as usual, I found myself feeling uneasy about such one-sided anger. However later in the talk she also pointed out that the good and the bad go together, which showed she had a more measured response, and I felt her anger could then be used in a positive way. Until we get the disconnect in ourselves dealt with, it is difficult to make much progress with our disconnect at a local level, let alone a global level.

Since I had just returned from the flying club this weekday evening, my thoughts strayed onto my flying – of course! This evening I don’t have any photos, just my thoughts. It was just one glider flight. Only 6 minutes. Overcast conditions. Winch launch to 1300ft, followed by some bimbling around before getting into the circuit and sideslipping down on the approach rather than just simply using the airbrakes.

After having left home at 7pm, I was back by 9:15pm, and then took the dog for a walk. On the walk I was looking at the cloudy sky, which by now had some lovely red in it as the sun set, and I spontaneously started laughing. This was just like I have done when flying on one of the longer daytime flights, and it surprised me. What on earth was going on?

I realised I felt more complete, more connected to the world by having had that 6 minute flight. From the ground I was not just looking up at the clouds as I would normally – I had been up there! I had seen their shapes, experienced their air currents, flown around their wispy fingers. I had connected with the air currents that had started thousands of miles away, no matter how mundane they may seem when they arrive in this country.

I felt I had launched myself into the air and touched the world.

This experience – this connection – turned what was just a normal, “standard”, day into a beacon in my memory.

As I reflected after watching the TED talk by Eve Ensler (author of The Vagina Monologues), my mind returned to a chat I had with someone who had returned to gliding after having been doing a lot of sailing. He said he liked gliding better because you had only yourself to blame if you didn’t gauge the weather well and didn’t complete a cross country flight as planned.

To be a good glider pilot you need to train, but you must also connect with the sky and its variations. And when you make this connection, you get the chance to feel complete, because after all you are a being of this world.

No wonder I was laughing! I felt part of the world, and know I will sleep well tonight and sigh contentedly as I lower my head to the pillow.

Once again, a happy man, and feeling lucky to be alive.

Good night.

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