April 10th, 2009

abstract butterfly

The Red Bi-Planes

Not far from where I live, there lies a plane subdivision. Every house has its own hangar in the back yard.
The community commons is a grass landing strip. On pleasant days, like today, the residents fly small planes.
Today, when I drove home, two red bi-planes were red-baroning the neighborhood.

Some days one of those bi-planes does loops or spins. Today, though, the planes slowed their engines, to a very slow trolling speed, as if to say--this is perfect, we should savor each moment as slowly as possible.

When I was a boy, the little airfield sixteen miles away, in Arkadelphia, had crop-dusting bi-planes. I rather imagine, with perhaps a trace of knowledge, that bi-planes do better at very low dusting altitudes than do monoplanes. Sometimes, when you passed, perhaps you saw a plane taking off.

I've never flown in a bi-plane. I've flown in a glider over the Napa Valley. I like to fly in gliders, because I love the sound of quiet winds, and the sense of stillness. I would take glider lessons, but only after I save the world and learn how to make a quilt and throw pottery like a pro.

From a glider, the ground looks like a story--a story told, as well as lived-in. A really good story, with a happy ending, and green valleys, and the whistling wind.

When drive home into a big sky, and see bi-planes coasting there, I feel a bit happy myself.