Flight Lesson – 23

StearmanThe sun’s been up all day waiting for you. Climb up here and sit on my lap, there’s something I want to tell you.  Let’s buckle you up, under my belt. Now put your hands on the stick and fly along with me.  See that cloud up there?  The fluffy one with the big nose, that’s puffing in and out.  It’s smelling you.  It thinks you smell like peanut butter and baby shampoo.  Your turn, pick a cloud and breathe in.  What do you smell? Don’t be embarrassed, no one can hear you up here.  “Rain?”  Good.  What else? Use your imagination, breathe in again and tell me what you smell?  “Puppy breathe.”  Excellent!  Guess what I smell?  Chalk, let me tell you why.

Once upon a time there was a Renaissance, a Golden Age of Aviation.  Airplanes were brand new then and what people could do with them was as unlimited as your imagination.  Each one was made by hand, because of that each one was unique and perfect – just like all children.  Then a war came and they started making planes all the same on an assembly line.  Not that those planes are bad.  All planes are marvelous machines, capable of doing miraculous things – just like all people.  But when the planes started to look the same, we left something behind on the assembly line.  Imagination.  Aviation needs children to survive because dreams begin in children’s eyes.  Someday this will be yours, well it already is.  I put your name on the registration the day you were born.  I’ve never loved anything as much as flying, until I saw you.  The sky loves you as much as I do.

The sky loves you so much it sends the clouds down to the ground at night to collect all the tears in the world. Then the clouds take them up to the sky to be dried. Clouds hold millions of tiny tears inside. Clouds carry all the tears of sadness and gladness, which are both good.  Everyone needs a good cry.  When dried, each good tear has a dream inside. Good tears make the white fluffy clouds that stretch and yawn across the sky. They’re the clouds you see floating by that remind you of your house, or your dog, or your best friend.  Those clouds smell like chalk because they hold your imagination for you forever, even if you’ve forgotten to look up at them. The sky still loves you long after you’ve grown up, but sends stronger clouds down to collect the tears of adults.  Adults’ tears change when they grow up, adults start to cry tears of shame. Tears of shame are the only bad tears to cry.  They hold all the could’ve’s, the would’ve’s, all of the might’ve been’s that grown-up’s hold inside. Those tears can’t be dried, so they are taken up to have the dreams restored in the sky.  Clouds that clean the tears of adults are dark inside, and the darkest clouds are the Cumulonimbus Giants of the sky. They’re the ones you see towering and glowering, bubbling and boiling, scrubbing shame out harder and higher.  The Giants of the sky aren’t terrible, they’re just very tired.  After all it’s a giant job cleaning up everyone’s tears for all those years. When the Giants are done they go to sleep, resting in the sky, and the Giants become gentle again.  Once all the tears are squeaky clean and sparkling with dreams, the sky sends the tears down as rain to grow the garden of children.


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