Friday, 28 August 2009


Meet Joyce: Pilot extraordinaire. Welcome to her world
The story begins here, with our 10 day stop at a landing strip near Chehalis, Washington. That building in the rear is mostly hangar; the small portion in front is home to our host Jerry. Nearby are lots of other hangar/house combos clustered around the airstrip--a designedly aircraft loving community. And then----and then--
one day--literally out of the blue, a lovely aeronaut glides into our lives; whisks us away, three by three-- up and away to magical places.
Each whiskee gets a headset and a window.
I think the plane is a Cessna. My companions are Dodi (my right) and Paul. Our pilot and owner is Joyce--whose love of flying is legendary even in flying circles---nearly 1000 hours flying time.
Thar she be--mighty mt Ranier, taller than its ring of clouds----
And brooding Mt St. Helens. We wing through smoke where once stood solid rock.
See that house perched there--I'm guessing it's a fire lookout post.
And that is Seattle.
The Seattle Space Needle at eye level. What a thrill!
A regatta sailing below us.
In subsequent days, hangar doors opened and all sorts of aircraft emerged. We have a front row seat--that's my satellite dish on the left. This fun craft dipsey doodled like a motorcycle of the air--got airborn in 7 seconds flat.
Guy next door had two planes.
Directly over my trailer--para-glider--fun, reltively safe, slow--cheap enough for the middle class to get airborn.

NOW ABOUT THE PILOT: Even more interesting to me than the plane ride was getting to know the pilot. All who rode with her commented on her enthusiasm and easy confidence--enjoying life with nothing to prove---nothing to fear. She spoke and acted like a friendly general. My heart flutters in the presence of powerful women and I asked if I might interview her. She consented.

------Was a mother--workaday housewife till the nest was empty---took flying lessons---smitten with the wonder of the wild blue yonder---bought a plane----mastered the art---flyes where notions take her.

Somewhere in the process an ordinary lady morphed into a forceful extraordinary personality. I consulted Maslow's list of 24 characteristics of self actualized people: ARE NOT FRIGHTENED BY THE UNKNOWN-----ACCEPT THEMSELVES AND OTHERS------ENJOY THEMSELVES WITHOUT SHAME---- LACK DEFENSIVENESS AND POSE---etc. (the complete list is elsewhere on my blog)

Probe as I may, I could not uncover the secret. Are all of us potent personalities, cloaked by childhood scripting, lacking only the will to uncloak? Or are some of us just sheeple period. I think Joyce has demonstrated that being siezed by a grand passion is transformative.

I share with my readers a poem I sent to her.


Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

— John Gillespie Magee, Jr died 1944--age 19 years

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