“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
“I owned the world that hour as I rode over it— free of the earth, free of the mountains, free of the clouds, but how inseparably I was bound to them.” — Charles A. Lindbergh, on flying above the Rocky Mountains, quoted by Leonard Mosley in Lindbergh, 1978
A principle I have often considered in relation to flying and in just about every other sphere of activity is “that which divides also connects.” The atmosphere between the airplane and the ground divides, but also connects. Likewise, the atmosphere between people divides, but also connects.
That atmosphere between you and another – be it love, hatred, or something in between – divides, but also connects you to that person. Just as with your affection, your antipathy binds you to that which has your heart.
Wise is the man who carefully considers his animus, in both senses of the word.
*Photos taken by Gregg Hake in a Piper Saratoga TCII, with an Apple iPhone 3GS somewhere over Lake Lanier in Georgia
“Until now I have never really lived! Life on earth is a creeping, crawling business. It is in the air that one feels the glory of being a man and of conquering the elements. There is an exquisite smoothness of motion and the joy of gliding through space. It is wonderful!” — Gabriele D’Annunzio, 1909
There is something about the business of flying – taking off, gliding through space, and then returning to earth – that makes me think of the wonderful thinking processes with which we are all endowed.
The flight of a new idea typically begins on the ground. It typically emerges out of the factors already present with us. From there our minds lift it up to the skies above, where we consider possibilities that may not have previously been obvious from where we “stood” below.
At last the idea must be brought safely back to earth if it is to be of any tangible value. This phase, as with flying, is tge most perilous.
*Photos taken by Gregg Hake with an Apple iPhone 3GS over Northeast Georgia
“There isn’t a flight goes by when I don’t stare out of the window and thank my stars for what I’m seeing and feeling.” — Richard Branson, pilot and founder of Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Galactic, Reach For The Skies, 2011
*Photos taken by Gregg Hake in a Piper Saratoga TC-II over Detroit and Lake Michigan with a Sony DSC-T10
“The Wright brothers flew through the smoke screen of impossibility.” — Dorothea Brande
How many things in your life have proven to be nothing more than the “smoke screen of impossibility”? Life’s challenges are often daunting when they are first encountered, but once a little knowledge and experience are gained in relation to them they are put back into perspective. Premature judgment often makes things appear much worse than they really are.
You can save yourself a lot of trouble in life if you take the time to cultivate in yourself the ability to receive with equanimity that which is initially foreign, unfamiliar, or seemingly insurmountable. The way you fly through life is largely determined by the habit patterns you develop around this central point.
I took these pictures while earning my seaplane license in Italy several years ago. One of the challenges I met in the course of my instruction (coming to it as a land-based pilot) was to land in the river that ran through the farm shown below. Yes, I had to land in a narrow, winding, flowing river, that my instructor (I think jokingly?) said was protected by a shotgun wielding farmer. And yes, I survived.
Our first landing required me to have faith in my instructor that far exceeded my personal experience and understanding of what was possible, but the second one was a cinch. not only that, it gave me the confidence to meet the new challenge…glassy water landings!
I hope you enjoy the photos…
*Photos taken by Gregg Hake with a Sony DSC-T10 in a seaplane over Lake Como in Italy