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Still Looney After All These Years

May 1, 2012

The rain clouds of the morning had passed, leaving patchier and more dramatic cousins behind. A slight breeze wafted in the wide expanse of the open hangar door. The faint odor of old hydraulic fluid and axle grease mingled with the smell of the cool, damp concrete. It was peaceful and the temperature was just right.

Then I heard it. The familiar whooshing-whine of a business jet on its takeoff run. I laid down my tools and stood up to watch. The Hawker had already broken ground when it came into view. Gear up, it roared down the length of the runway, poking its nose skyward. It slowly climbed as it passed the airport’s resident red-tailed hawk that was gliding about the tempestuous sky. As the winged aluminum projectile slid away toward the horizon and its turbine’s fury faded, I had to smile. How many years have I been at this? How long ago was that first, now forgotten, takeoff observed? How many times have I stopped mid-task to witness another act of aviation? How many silhouettes have I squinted at droning over the backyard on a Saturday afternoon?

I don’t know, but I’m glad that I haven’t lost whatever it is that makes me do it.

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