Aren’t You Scared?

One of the most gratifying gifts we can give another person isn’t an object, but an experience.

My father took me flying when I was a young girl. The thing I remember most about the day was how the flight made me feel simultaneously interested yet calm. There was so much to look at, between the airplane itself and the incredible view.

But, something I’ve noticed: When people learn that I fly, they almost always inquire “aren’t you scared”?

I’m so not a thrill-seeker. Flying fits my world view that life is meant to be enjoyed, which includes, being accepting of and embracing things (and people) with an open mind. Flying is what I want to do as a means to escape or take a break. I seek out an hour or so to get away; in the air, it’s quiet and beautiful. My phone doesn’t work above a certain altitude, so the act of unplugging is assured. I see things that move me beyond words; You haven’t seen a tree until you’ve seen its shadow from the sky, said Amelia Earhart. I wish more people would experience it, and understand how it works; I feel the fearful aspects would lose their power. Furthermore, I don’t feel that it’s as inaccessible as people assume.

You know what does illicit fear in my heart? Illness. Crowds. An inability to pay bills or fulfill my commitments. Car accidents. Cruelty. But flying? I don’t think it’s any crazier than many of the things people routinely engage in; To that end, we can search long enough to find the elements of danger in most anything. (Tide Pods anyone?)

Lastly, no, I don’t think I’m special because I fly. But I think that flying is special, and I want to share it with others.

I have taken people up for their first flights and it’s a gift to me to watch their joy unfold. I have a little mirror in my cockpit so I can see my rear seat passenger; we will be climbing out after takeoff and I can see their eyes gazing down, smile alighting their mouth. Then they’ve got their phone out, and their snapping pictures and guess what they’re doing?
Sharing it.

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