“Have you ever felt so at one with the world, with the universe, with everything that is, that you were overcome with love? That is reality. That is the truth. What we make of it is up to us, as the painting of the sunrise is up to the artist. In our world humanity has strayed from that love. It lives hatred and power struggles and manipulations of the earth itself for its own narrow reasons. Continue and no one will see the sunrise. The sunrise will always exist, of course, but people on earth will know nothing of it and finally even stories of its beauty will fade from our knowing.” ― Richard Bach, One
I had the good fortune recently to add a seaplane rating to my pilot’s license at Jack Brown’s Seaplane Base in Winter Haven, Florida. The rating satisfied a biennial flight review I needed, so it wasn’t just for fun, and if you ask any pilot, any additional training – as long as it is given and received properly – makes you a better pilot. The author Richard Bach lived next door to the seaplane base and apparently wrote his homily to self-perfection, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, while living on the lake (Lake Jessie), so I couldn’t help but use a quote from him this morning.
In all of our world domination, achievement-driven lives, and insatiable materialism we seem to have lost track of the beauty of the world around us. We seem as a race to be desperately concerned to make the world more convenient to us, no matter what is lost, trampled on, or imbalanced in the process. My time in the back seat of an old Piper J-3 Cub on floats gave me a chance to reconnect with the world and to be, in yet another way, overcome with love.
Hopping from lake to lake in central Florida is an experience like no other. It provides you with a special perspective on the beautiful earth that is ours to steward and fills you with a deep appreciate for the privilege and the romance of flight. When I travel through major airports I cannot help but see the words spoken by Bach above playing out. Flying used to be a novelty and not an annoyance. Passengers dressed up brought their excitement and sense of adventure with them to the airport, whereas now I think most people end up more or less tolerating, if not dreading the experience.
To know the joy of living you must let yourself be overcome by love not just once, but regularly. Love for nature, love for someone special, love for beauty and wonder of our spectacularly beautiful planet and the even more impressive cosmic context in which it spins. Have you let yourself be overcome with love lately?