Age of Flight

Sometimes I muse over what it would have been like to be born in another age. Sometimes I think that life as a Celtic warrior or Cherokee brave (both of which are in my ancestry) would have suited me better.

What everyone says when I say that: Oooooh, you have no idea how much you would miss modern conveniences. What about heating? Refrigerators? Plumbing? What about cars and phones and cameras?

I’ll readily admit that, yes, if I were transported back to a time without such things, I would be miserable at their lack. But I’m not talking about time travel. I’m talking about being born in an entirely different century.
If one were born without any modern conveniences, one wouldn’t know to miss them. Getting along without them would be part of your tough but everyday routine.

Except for one thing.

I realized it recently, as I sat in a little pondhopper whizzing down the Orcas Island runway. The front wheel rose off the black top, then, the back wheels smoothly parted company with earth, and we were airborne.
Awe at the very idea struck me anew as we lifted to gain a bird’s-eye view of verdant forests, patch quilt farmland, and glittering sea.
That’s when I realized what I could not part with, what longing would haunt me, even without memory of the future.

Flight. Since time immemorial, man has longed to gain the skies, to go up and up.

A transfer later, I sat in a commercial airliner, speeding over the California coast. I looked inland at a sea of clouds, stretching for calm miles until they broke in surprise against a mountain. Its startled formation seemed to say, “What’s earth doing up here among us?”
And I was above it. And I know that I can never give that up.

While few in the past seemed to have stood about wishing for lightbulbs and sewing machines and the internet and all the other crazy inventions they couldn’t even begin to wrap their brains around, they knew to look up, to watch the bird and bat and cloud, and yearn to join them.

So, whatever else may be said of modernity, good or ill– Rejoice! For we live in an age that flies.


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