Somewhere – Week 3
All the somewhere posts have multiple meaning. simple please
I’m looking for the perfect airport and that search begins with believing that it already exists, somewhere in the mist like Brigadoon, even if I haven’t found it yet. My search started while sitting on the porch with my barnstormer family, talking about the dream home we wished our planes could have, because we had found ours in Lake Geneva. I had just come off my first walk on the Lake Geneva shorepath, and I was in love with this community. I wanted that same love and sense of community for my plane too. There are lots of strips near us in southern Wisconsin, but each one had some issue, and didn’t feel “just right.” We went through all the local airports like Goldilocks, discussing them like they were porridge and concluding, “This one is too hot.” “This one is too cold.” We all agreed there was no Field of Dreams, no fairytale airport nearby, so I started visualizing my dream airport and it begins, as all fairytales do, in a magical village…full of beautiful airports with long, smooth, wide, grass and paved runways, bordered by flower beds. In this magical place there is a decree that all the airports must have friendly, pretty, “Welcome to our Airport,” signs. The hangar doors will remain open at all times and the planes exercised once a week, to keep both plane and pilot healthy. The villagers treat everyone as they would like to be treated, and never borrow tools more than twice, after which they pay the owner for using them. Of course in my magical flying village there would be wooden hangars with stone fireplace’s, wildflowers, and stars that laugh and shine as brightly as Indra’s net, so we could fly 24 hours a day and it would never be dark. I have always been afraid of the dark.
The story of Indra’s net is another fairytale of sorts, a Hindu/Buddhist allegory and a conceptual metaphor on the nature of interdependence. Indra had a beautiful palace, and above his palace hung a wondrous net, so the heaven of Indra looked like a sparkling web. Indra’s net stretched out in all directions into infinity, and at each crossing point, each node on the net, hung a brilliant jewel. These jewels glittered like stars, and there were so many, no one could ever begin to count all of them. Each jewel was perfectly clear so they reflected the image of all the other jewels in the net, and together they reflected even brighter, and made the net magnificent. Not to jump from Buddha to the Bootstrap Theory of Quantum Physics, which in summary states that every subatomic particle consists of all other particles and that subatomic panicles are not separate entities, but interrelated energy patterns, in an ongoing dynamic process. I am amazed that 2500 years ago, eastern minds were thinking on the nature of Quantum Physics and our interdependence by looking at the stars, and wondering what it would be like to fly among them. Pilots are lucky enough to know, and too often we forget the rest of the world looks up at the stars, and cannot imagine what it would feel like, to be like us. We take for granted that we get to fly, when most of the world is stuck on the ground wishing they could.
The shorepath is a walking path in Lake Geneva that runs the entire border of the lake. It is a public easement, connecting all the properties together on a 21-mile trail, and a beautiful gift to the community. The Lake Geneva shorepath has no security or gates, and everyone is welcome to walk on it. What makes this path so special is that you feel privileged just to be part of it, to share in its beauty. Each homeowner takes part in filling their portion of the path with flowers and special walking stones, making little vignettes, each prettier than the next. The properties fences’ are covered in hydrangeas and freshly painted. On the shorepath even the signs are kind, reminding people to, “Please stay on the path,” and to, “Please remember the following rules…” The community of Lake Geneva knows people need guidance, but they provide it with kindness instead of threatening them, and the result is astonishing. While you might think having people walking through your front yard each day would be a problem, it isn’t. There is no trash, no vandalism, and no crime. People actually respect the property more because it’s so beautiful, and in turn show the same respect to each other. Everyone smiles and says hello on the path. Everyone stops to pet your dog or let you pass on the path. Because the village of Lake Geneva has made this path so special, you feel special just being part of it. They have woven their own Indra’s net around their lake, each resident reflecting the other’s beauty, connected by a path, to draw other jewels to join their village.
We are privileged beyond belief to be pilots, and we have a responsibility to connect with kindness, if we are ever to shine brilliantly. Creating the perfect winged-world begins with ourselves, and believing we are the key to starting that process. Believing that we are each jewels, in Indra’s net, and reflecting each other as brightly as stars, because we are lucky enough to fly among them.
“Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden