Sunday, January 14, 2007

Walking away

Years ago I took flying lessons. I only logged 30 hours in an old fixed-gear single Piper J-3, but they were exhilarating hours. There's something magnificent about leaving the earth and feeling a small plane shake and bump around you as you're riding the winds. The freedom is nicely balanced by the discipline, attention to details and care of your aircraft that flying demands. You can never take flying for granted. It's something you work to do.

I never got over the tension and anxiety of landings though. I always knew that everything could end completely if I didn't handle it well. That tension affected my performance, and I never had a perfect, graceful three point landing. These were in the days of extreme perfectionism for me, and I tended to rant about my less than stellar performance. I obsessed over each step of landing until I drove my instructor crazy. He was a quiet, withdrawn person who only made sure that I had the knowledge necessary to be safe and meet the standards of my lessons. He didn't care if I excelled or failed, as long as I didn't endanger him, myself or anyone else. My graceless landings received only the old cliche' that any landing you walk away from is a good one.

He was right. Landings are inevitable. They simply have to be done, and that's it. Yesterday, I emotionally hit the ground hard and let myself experience it fully. I didn't hide from it, numb myself out or twist things into something that they simply are not. Today, I'm up and walking around. I'm in a much better position to look at the wreckage and see what needs to be done. I've got the self-pity in check, and a healthier, loving sympathy for myself is in its place. I feel up to the work that I have to do, and I'm proud that I'm standing.

The photograph is a 1940 Piper J3 Cub, a much older version of the plane I flew. Piper manufactured Cubs from 1937 to 1994.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Brava, my friend! Not a Pollyannish twist to your situation at all. Just a healthy summing up and going on from there. I'm proud of you! :-]

January 14, 2007 4:03 PM  
Blogger Cynnie said...

my mama mae always said that sometimes you just gotta cry..
it's true!

Aww baby baby, everything has a way of working itself out ..
some how someway.

You're tough..which is sometimes so freaking ( I try to clean up my language for you ) but so freaking depressing ..
Wouldnt you just LOVE to fall to Pieces ? just fall into the arms of a big strong man and let him handle all your problems ?

Yeah me too...

But..
I've always been the strong one ..

like you

January 14, 2007 8:34 PM  
Blogger sunflowerkat119 said...

It is hard for strong people to allow themselves to experience a crash. Yet, it's something that needs to be done. It clears the head. You're an amazing woman and you're going to get yourself through everything. You have so much to be proud of.

January 14, 2007 9:24 PM  

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