Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fear of Flying

Usually I am very aware of takeoff when I am on a plane, but on this particular day, I felt a little bit different. The winter had been so cold and snowy, and I was finally en-route to someplace warm, where I hoped to ride my mountain bike on dirt under a warm sun. I looked out the window and I was overcome with a feeling of peace. There is something very comforting about a big, deep, blue sky above. White puffy clouds gave only tiny glimpses of the cold, white, frozen world below. It felt oddly encouraging.

Usually, planes make me a bit uneasy, mostly because to my simple brain, a metal tube flying through the air long distances seems to defy physics. As a child, I did not fly. Actually, my whole family did not fly for a long time. I grew up in a family with fear of flying. As much as I want to say that I am over that phase, there will always be that deeply buried fear. So, what would cause such a fear? … the story of my grandfather’s death.

October 28 1949, Air France Lockhead L-749 Constellation crashes into Monte Redondo, San Miguel Island Azores, killing 11 crew members, and 37 passengers. There is plenty of information available about this crash because Middle Weight boxing World Champion Marcel Cerdan was killed on the same flight. Stories and even a movie were created about Cerdan's life and affair with Edith Piaf. As for my grandfather Raoul, my grandmother was shipped a body thought to be my grandfather. Weeks later a misidentification was reported and my dad had to identify another body which turned out to be my grandfather. He could only identify my grandfather by his teeth.

The whole story seemed kind of creepy to me as a kid, but there is a good reason why my dad told me this story. I am sure it bothered him emotionally at the time, but he looked at death, realized his fragile mortality and decided to keep living. This is something each one of us must do at some point in our life. Fear can keep us alive, it can also keep us from living. There is a time to look past fear and get on living.

My dad is gone, and now Art’s dad is gone too. A little of them is in us both. Whether we care to embrace it or not, it is life.

Today’s journey in my life, is to travel to a sunny place where I will ride my bike, laugh, love and live. I will live a little bit like my dad and Art will live a little bit like his dad. It is a beautiful day! .....Hello Arizona!

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