“For pilots sometimes see behind the curtain, behind the veil of gossamer velvet, and find the truth behind man, the force behind a universe.” — Richard Bach, Biplane, 1966
To know the truth of another is to look past limitation, hesitation, unwillingness, fear, and inflated ego. The eyes of truth penetrate unreality, and see past the false fronts of insecurity, inferiority, vanity, and conceit. In truth, we find reality.
*Photos taken by Gregg Hake with in a Piper Saratoga TCII with an Apple iPhone 3GS over Long Island, NY
“When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with all other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.” — John Muir, Travels in Alaska, 1915
We are blessed to live on a beautiful planet. Its many faces astound and delight, and kindlier nature never ceases to impress those whose hearts remain supple through forgiveness, compassion, and thanksgiving. I remember the overwhelming feeling of gratitude I had while flying to Mackinac Island in northern Michigan on a sunny day in June. I was overflowing with appreciation for the privilege of flying, for the many visual gifts I had received that day, for the satisfaction of good conversation, and for the simple fact of living on earth in this time.
*Photos taken by Gregg Hake over northern Michigan in a Piper Saratoga TCII with an Apple iPhone 3GS
“I may be flying a complicated airplane, rushing through space, but in this cabin I’m surrounded by simplicity and thoughts set free of time. How detached the intimate things around me seem from the great world down below. How strange is this combination of proximity and separation. That ground — seconds away — thousands of miles away. This air, stirring mildly around me. That air, rushing by with the speed of a tornado, an inch beyond. These minute details in my cockpit. The grandeur of the world outside. The nearness of death. The longness of life.” — Charles A. Lindbergh, ‘The Spirit of St. Louis.’
We live in a world that is replete with apparent contradictions. The uncertainty introduced by these dialectic structures can foster paralysis if they are not properly handled.
Perhaps you’ve had the dream or dreaming sensation of shrinking in relation to the world around you. No matter how small you become, you are still an integral part of the infinite universe, just as atoms or quarks are inextricably connected to the fabric of the cosmos. Or maybe you’ve dreamed of being able to fly. No matter how high or fast you go, that flight is only meaningful because of your relationship to that which surrounds you, above and below, and because of the opposing forces at work in relation to flight (i.e. lift, gravity, drag, thrust). These dreams are typically an exaggerated sensation of the world’s contradictions, but I’ve often thought that they provide a unique portal into the understanding of truth.
In fact, the contradictions we perceive are often the starting point for understanding truth, if they are properly considered. Reacting to contradictions and the cloud of uncertainty never helps; reacting to uncertainty rather than from a reasoned starting point in truth is frenzy. The comprehensive mind analyzes this uncertainty and draws conclusions which are grounded in truth and allow for forward, and in fact, upward movement, rather than paralysis.
*Photos of Niagara Falls taken by Gregg Hake in a Piper Saratoga TCII with an Apple iPhone 3GS.
“Travelers are always discoverers, especially those who travel by air. There are no signposts in the air to show a man has passed that way before. There are no channels marked. The flier breaks each second into new uncharted seas.” — Anne Morrow Lindbergh, North to the Orient, 1935
If you think about it, every single second ahead of you is uncharted territory. Even if you’ve “been there” and “done that” in the sense of having performed a certain action previously, everything in the world – including you! – has changed.
One of the wonderful things about children is that they perceive and often acknowledge those changes. Their days rarely become “same old, same old” because their vision and other sensory capacities are more often than not trained on the newness inherent in the circumstances at hand.
As we age, we often allow ourselves to become dull to the ever-present newness of the world around us. This is why so many people become jaded or cynical over time…they think they’ve seen it all and believe from their personal experience that there is nothing new under the sun.
If you get the chance, try to take a few minutes and see the world around you as a child would: with an eye for the newness hidden in it, or exploding from it. You might be surprised at what you discover!
*Photos taken by Gregg Hake in a Piper Saratoga TCII over central Ohio with an Apple iPhone 3GS
“Sometimes I feel a strange exhilaration up here which seems to come from something beyond the mere stimulus of flying. It is a feeling of belonging to the sky, of owning and being owned — if only for a moment – by the air I breathe. It is akin to the well known claim of the swallow: each bird staking out his personal bug-strewn slice of heaven, his inviolate property of the blue.” — Guy Murchie, ‘Song of the Sky,’ 1954
The realization of oneness is an unforgettable sensation. It may come through an experience such as flight, through a quiet prayer, the birth of a child or a prolonged physical exertion, such as a long run. It always seemed strange to me that the realization of oneness was so elusive to so many, but I suppose the fact that it is makes it all the more important to cherish and appreciate those moments.
Man is continuous with the universe, but even this can be overlooked if all one’s time is spent tilting at windmills and wrestling with the tyranny of petty things.
*Photos taken by Gregg Hake with an Apple iPhone 3GS over northeast Georgia on a particularly beautiful evening
“I will fly in the greatness of God as the marsh-hen flies,
In the freedom that fills all the space ‘twixt the marsh and the skies.” — Sidney Lanier, American poet, in the poem The Marshes of Glynn
Flying, like any new perspective, affords one the opportunity to to study the beauty of the moment. Tired old perspectives lead to tired, fixed opinions. As a student of the beauty of the moment you have the privilege of seeing and knowing the liberty of the almighty.
*Photos taken over Lake Sidney Lanier and northwestern Georgia by Gregg Hake with an Apple iPhone 3GS