Photo Essay: Goodbye, Old Friend

First posted in October, 2003

...Puis, comme rien ne vacillait, ni ne vibrait, ni ne tremblait, et que demeuraient fixes son gyroscope, son altimètre et le régime du moteur, il s'étira un peu, appuya sa nuque au cuir du siège, et commença cette profonde méditation du vol, où l'on savoure une espérance inexplicable.

- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,
Vol de nuit

In the sad-news department, Rick Swanson is coming to pick up Sparky today, if the weather holds. Sparky was Jon's plane, and is now Rick's. And if one can actually be in love with a material object, I was am head over heels for this aircraft.

I walked around him, gently touched the prop, and climbed into the cockpit for the final time last night. I sat there, pulled the yoke toward my body, and remembered what it was like, flying this little red bird through the snow capped peaks around here, his reaction to my every subtle command. Such freedom.

This is the plane in which I learned to fly. I felt some tears come up while I was sitting there last evening, but I held them back. Writing this just now, I'm not so able to suppress them.

Why I would have such an attachment to a mere object is beyond me. It's no consolation to know that I will one day have a plane of my own, probably one that's larger, with more little bells and whistles, more room for more people. That's no consolation at all. I'm going to miss Sparky so very, very much.

And there's only a thin line of light on the horizon to mark the sunrise. The rest is clouds. I suppose with this weather moving in, there's a good chance Rick won't make it down for the plane. Part of me is glad for that, part of me just wants him to come and take it and get it over with. I have to look at this plane every day when I go to work out, and it's like a long, slow, sad breakup from someone you still love. Well, maybe not quite that bad, but it's the only true sadness in my life at present, so it feels heavy nonetheless.