Night Skies and Other Lies.


Rumbly turbulence, airspeed flinches; the yaw damper reins her head; the nose and tail agree and the jet settles back on course. That bumpiness is the late afternoon frontal sheer losing it’s heat, it’s edge, power; just the teethmarks of the day imprinted on the night.  The sun sinking low leaves behind a down payment on tomorrow in the towering hell marching eastward not caring that the rest of the day has paraded off to the west. We’ll slip by.

Night flight is a watch or a vision, all about what you can’t see in the daytime, what you’d have to look up to see and even then, daytime’s relentless now shines it all down. But it’s mostly a lie anyway.

A millenium ago sailors miles below peered up at the night sky and plotted their course based on the the diamond waypoints they mistakenly believed never moved. And though blinded by a thousand miles of deep blue everywhere they looked in the daytime, nighttime gave them the vision above to plot a course ahead and the faith to steer it all day.

Above the earth our sea is as black above as below, and the irony of time is that now the night sky braces a constellation of man-made satellites not visible from the crow’s nest I sit in, but talking to the jet nonetheless.

A metal swarm below the diamond canopy mimics the geo-synchronicity of the constellations, which is also a lie: everything moves, is moving and though it looks to my eye like we’re suspended above the gossamer web of ground lights only creeping inch by inch below, in reality we flash across the ground like wild dogs with our heads out the window, letting our ears blow through time and space. The satellite tapestry orchestrating the course is no more stationary than the wide-flung constellations, but we transcend the lie by more sleight of hand.

When the earth falls away, we discount the minuteness of our own worldly time and motion compared to the magnitude of the universe and the measure of its flux. We gaze beyond our own micro-minutes in the sky, so fleeting by comparison to the eternity above; we favor the sweep of the second hand collecting years a minute at a time. In the darkest of night we substitute for the lack of vision with a structure of white lies that has bent truth and charted a course, until morning at least and then more.

Cosmic gears move and the fly-wheel spins in darkness or light; the time passes like distance in flight. Nobody cares that what’s fixed really isn’t, nor what’s in motion is really fixed, we claim a bug’s life, a gnat’s age and stretch it across a calendar so small that the universe couldn’t notice it any more that you mark the nine-day life and death of a fruit fly.

Time and distance flat-lines, the truth is all motion and sky. Distance and place and the relativity of each, the minuteness of everything compared to monolith of eternity–that’s the smirk of the universe, but so what?

When it comes to the cosmos, here’s what I see:

And I’m buying: what we lack in duration, we’ll make up in intensity; where we don’t endure, we’ll at least enjoy; where we can’t prevail, we’ll contend like a welterweight against the fatass heavyweight Time. In the absence of grace, we’ll substitute brute force:

Time and space and irrelevant place: vision is overrated anyway. Feel like flying? I do, both feel like it, and do it. “Here to there” is insignificant, because neither waypoint matters as much as the flight in between, or moreover, the fact that you’re flying at all.

And when you think of it that way, it’s kind of like giving the finger to the universe and eternity all at once. Ice Age or a gnat’s days;  light years or more beers; it’s all relative, a matter of comparison but not kind–and none of it lasts anyway.

So we’ll burn it, stoke it to an ice-blue flame, fast as she’ll go, high as we can for as long as it lasts–then into the night. Newborn of no one, headed “there” from nowhere, one more shooting star, another streak of light. A mortal patchwork of lies, sailing the infinite night.

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13 Responses to “Night Skies and Other Lies.”

  1. This brought tears to my eyes…

    We don’t have deep time on our side. There is only the now, and how magnificent it is!

    If only we could immerse ourselves in the beauty of the Universe, forget the yesterdays and tomorrows…flying through the Infinite…flying through the Present.

  2. HI THIS IS VERY GOOD.

  3. Paul Lally Says:

    This one rotated my soul off the runway WAY before I reached V1. Fantastic imagery, heartfelt truths and complete honesty. Thanks for both Cosmos’s.

  4. *sigh* Beautiful, Chris! 🙂

    I was really missing this. Thank you.

    And…Happy Father’s Day to you.

  5. Charlie Jones Says:

    Your usual inspirational prose. But it did make me wonder about something. If you’ve seen the ISS from altitude, is the view any more spectacular?

  6. Elegant. Thoughts and images. Nice flying with you

  7. blackwatertown Says:

    Poetry that makes sense for life. great stuff.

  8. Fantastic amalgam of prose n poetry, Chris! I don’t even know where to begin! I love the juxtaposition of romantic imagery interspersed with smug audacity—the brazen little kid flipping off the universe, even while succumbing to its inexorable charm and pull. He grew up to be a JetHead; he never had a chance! So sayeth the English major…

    GORGEOUS!!
    Eric

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