A Perfect Moment

clear-mountainsAs a pilot, I find there is something inexplicable in the nature of flying that causes me to feel more connected to life than anything else.  One evening, I set out just before sunset in a Beechcraft Sundowner from Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford MA enroute to Springfield VT.  The sky was beautifully clear and smooth.  I landing in a deserted Springfield just as night was falling.  The facilities closed at 5pm so there was no one around; just peace, quiet, and mountains.  After stretching my legs for a bit, I got back in the sky now completely enveloped in night.  My route home took me east to Manchester NH and then south back to Bedford.

After reaching my cruising altitude on the leg to Manchester, I paused for a moment to take in the scene.  I was just out of Vermont heading east.  The crystal clear dry air allowed me to see Boston, lit up and alive at my distant 2 o’clock.  I was flying directly into a full moon just 30 degrees above the horizon and the air was so clear, that I could actually see its reflection in the Atlantic a state away.  My plane was performing flawlessly with every instrument spot on.  While monitoring Manchester Approach, I heard and saw another plane flying west about 5 miles off my left wing at 6,500 MSL.  Their dialog included the sighting of an unidentified craft heading east at 5,500 MSL (me).  I called Manchester to identify myself acknowledging my awareness of the other plane; all standard.

This is a very different world, not at all solitary, and happening all the time in a thin layer above the earth.  But what struck me during this very brief moment of reflection was its beauty and its clarity.  This is a world where everything makes sense to me.  Every event happens for a reason that is readily apparent; not at all standard for normal life.

Moments like these are fleeting and cannot be manufactured.  This is probably why these moments are so special.  This and the sense of complete clarity they bring, if only for a moment.

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