The Wright Brothers

I know, I know, it’s been entirely too long since the last blog. It’s not for lack of material, for sure. Life just spins all around me, filled with oddities, miracles and wonder. I’ve been so busy enjoying all that I just haven’t plopped myself in front of the computer. As whizbang-fantastic as computers may seem, they just don’t hold a candle to Life According to God.

Here’s the kind of encounter I prefer: a few days ago I was driving along the north edge of the Danbury Airport, of which there was much recent ado in the news. Seems a young lad, given to a tad too much alcohol consumption and with a yen for flying, “borrowed” someone’s plane from said airport and flew it down to Westchester, at night, with two friends on board and enough alcohol in his blood to fuel the flight and earn him a place of honor in the local jail to boot. Bad business. Dangerous as hell. Sad, too. He seems a bright and worthy young man, wandering a bit too far down a dangerous road. Misses his mom. Has a dad who cares and can’t figure out how to help his son find a safer, more promising direction for his life.

Of course the news folks leaped on this opportunity to notify any lurking terrorists too dumb to have already thought of it that small airports might be a good source of transportation for their next US mission. Let’s kick that fear level up a notch. Let’s implement big-city security at every little airport in the land. Think of the money that will change hands. Ah, consumerism at its finest.

Oops, sorry. I’m off my own trail.

What I wanted to write about was what I saw in the sky the other day. Thank goodness for a long stoplight, because watching the sky while driving is generally a poor idea. But I’m glad I let my eyes wander, because right there above me was a small plane, flanked by a turkey vulture. The little plane flew a nice, exact, gentle curve toward the airport. The vulture, however, was having a blast, gliding with the air currents — up, down, sideways, up over the plane and down the other side, swooping and diving, lagging back and speeding up … I just know that bird was laughing at the odd little machine that used all of its energy simply to stay in the air. What kind of fun is that? A lot of noise and not much beauty in just staying up there.

How can we possibly believe we can compete with God’s design strategies? Yes, our planes do a pretty good job of staying in the air. But sometimes they don’t and when that happens disaster strikes. A turkey vulture in bad weather, or on a collision course with another bird, just makes a minor adjustment and keeps right on going. God forbid the bird encounters a speeding bullet, or a nearly-invisible power line. In that case it, too, crashes to the ground. But at least only one being dies, not two hundred.

Look, I’m not against airplanes. But I do think we lose a lot (too much, actually) by acting as if our plans are so great they should take precedence over the rights, needs and very lives of all other living systems of Earth. That’s a whole lot more dangerous to us than we know. Let’s not find out the hard way that turkey vultures can teach us something, not only about flying, but about living.

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