No matter who you are and which way you’re pointed, somehow, you’re going home. Maybe not now, but eventually and the place defines where you’re bound. Because what’s ahead is most clearly determined by what’s behind; where you’re going by where you’re from. Really, there’s no “to” without a “from,” and the ultimate “to,” the eventual “at last,” is always home.
A lot of home, then, is in the leaving and sometimes you can see it clearly; sometimes you can’t. But you can appreciate the separation when it happens before your eyes, though you try not to look. There’s a bit of loss ahead, if only for a moment but it’s there, reinforcing the value of home carried aboard in every parting.
Other times, home just about comes along for the trip.
Little ones travel like rock stars, trailed by adult roadies hauling enough of home to make it so for the kids. Now that’s okay to look at, refreshing, almost, in the world of to and from: home is parents caring for kids, being a family. That’s almost enough to make up for the home more often left behind with family too; distance being more than just a measurement.
In that case–maybe even more so than in the families dragging “home” through an airport–you can see what’s left behind and it’s even more powerful often than what’s immediately ahead. Because home throughout the miles is always ahead, eventually.
But there’s not always unlimited miles to go, you have to realize.
Yes, home is home but there aren’t always more miles ahead than behind on the journey. That’s not always easy to acknowledge, but it’s true. We’re all along for the ride, however many miles that entails and whichever way you want to cross them.
But some of us are just tagging along for all the miles. And when you realize the journey for what it is, day after day, mile after mile, you come to see the reality, the duality of the crossing: there’s doing it–then there’s living it.
Here’s the plain old doing: plans and performance, weight and balance, thrust, speed, lift, ceiling, cruise winds, fuel flow, amen.
Everyone’s underway, doing whatever they do, going wherever they will, being whoever they are, and living the miles how ever they do. Probably it’s not easy if the ride is all you’re along for, enduring the here to there, mindful (or not) of miles to go and the distance to or from home nonetheless.
Still I’d like to think that there’s more I can do in the actual flying to make the journey more than just a death march en route. Besides the safe passage at shotgun speed and above and beyond the course and track.
If nothing else–at least after sufficient java–I can live it out, rather than just do the job. Someone on board should do more than just endure. Someone should transcend the details and grasp the height and speed of the journey, the distance between here and there and the island of now between where and when.
Yeah, we’re miles above the thunderheads–doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the swelling curves of colossal power and beauty back lit by the retreating sun. With the lightest touch–so you won’t notice in back–I steer between the valleys trenching the boiling stacks and darting lightning exchanged between angry towers.
So much to go around; so much we go over but no matter what, we’re on the way as fast as we can practically get “there,” aren’t we? Might was well do more than just endure: let’s inhabit the ride.
We can do some wide-angle musing over the monolithic man made greatness which, from the god’s-eye view, seems delicately intricate and much less significant on the grand scale of creation. That passes quickly, inevitably.
There’s always the seductive magnificence of disaster playing out on a epic scale below, a detailed tapestry scrolling below.
I mean, why not? It’s all between here and “home” anyway, between you and whenever, wherever you finally find home. Sure, your compass whether you realize it or not always points to and from–that’s how you know where you are, based on a straight line from where you’ve been.
But that doesn’t mean you have to stop “being” along the way, especially since often you get there sooner than you think due to factors like an unseen tailwind virtually undetected from 7 miles above the dirt, but pushing you along nonetheless. Then “there” comes abruptly, arriving in ways you might not have considered, bringing you home one last time.
Home, eventually, in the business of to and from has a certain finality; the journey a finite continuity. The flight is more than just science, although it’s every bit of that. The enduring legacy is the journey lived, the hours on the wing, and the appreciation of reality of flight, over and over, higher, faster and wide-eyed throughout.
For those who fly–that truly is home.