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  • Betty Girardeau

From a Different Perspective


My son is a sports pilot. That means that he flies planes as a hobby. When I have gone to visit him in the last several years, we usually try to go flying at least once while I am there. I have always loved flying and even entertained at one point of becoming a pilot myself. I'm sorry I never did, but my son gives me the opportunity to get as close to being one as I can these days. I think one of the things that I have always loved about getting up in the air is the ability to look down and see the world in a different way. There is an orderliness to the world when it is seen from above: regularly defined fields and forests; roadways of varying sizes; tiny vehicles moving purposely in given directions; city streets laid out in an orderly fashion. And they all seem to fit together beautifully like the pieces of a puzzle. There are also all the different gradations of color, different from season to season. Flying west to visit my daughter in California I have been impressed by how long it takes even a jet plane to traverse the western plains of the US and how broad the Rocky Mountains are. This makes me be in awe of those pioneers who had the stamina and guts to chance it all and head through these terrains to follow their dreams. When I have taken international trips, especially to Europe, I have often looked down at the peaceful countryside and tried to image how it must have looked when ravaged by the countless wars over the centuries. And even if the view is just of clouds and sky, I can't help but realize that "little old me" is part of something so much bigger than I can fully imagine or appreciate. I think it is important for all of us to find a way to see our world from a different perspective. It can be a humbling experience if we let it be. It can also be a time of reflection on who we are and how we fit into the bigger picture. There are a couple of idioms about being "down to earth" and "coming back down to earth." When someone is told to come back down to earth, it is suggesting that they need to face reality, one that is tough and difficult. And to be "down to earth"as a person says that you are practical, intelligent, and rational, which, by comparison, means that if you aren't, then you must be impractical, unintelligent, irrational, and even unrealistic. From my perspective I think you have to experience flying with the birds as well as walking the streets. Only then can you fully understand and appreciate the world and your place in it.

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