Today (December 26/27) marks the tenth anniversary of the Indonesian Tsunami, and my youngest son’s tenth birthday.We will always remember this terrible tragedy in the wake of the gift of my son, Jason.I remember both vividly, and was moved by each with a deep emotional connection.Life is marked by moments of intense loss and grief, with gifts of life and joy.We cannot have one without the other it seems.On this day, we remember and think of the loss that was endured by those affected by such an unbelievable duel with nature.My son even understands the connection he has with this disaster. He’s read many books about the tsunami and what occurred across the other side of the world. He, like many of us, has only experienced it from pictures and words on a page.It’s good for him to know and understand that our world can change suddenly but even amongst tragedy, joy can be found.
Today we remember as we do every year, but we are also celebrating his birthday with a trip to one of our favorite places, the US National Whitewater Center. We are fortunate to have such a wonderful place near our home in Charlotte, North Carolina. http://usnwc.org/
Some days it’s enough to just look up at the sky and watch planes fly over, but other days, the pull of something more exciting calls me by name and beckons for me to come. It’s an airplane with my name on it that longs to be flown as much as I long to be in the air with it.There’s something wonderful that happens every time I set foot into my home airport, it’s a place where I feel completely comfortable and at ease.I look out at the runway and take a deep breath; breathe it all in, and exhale like it’s freedom.It is. It’s freedom and excitement like I’ve never known.It stirs in me like rushing waves that calm and soothe on one hand, but it’s also like a fire that burns and warms me from the inside out on the other hand.
Today is a departure from flying for another thing I love to do, hiking.Climbing the Pinnacle Trail at Crowders Mountain State Park to the 1705 foot height is like being at pattern altitude at my airport.The view is like looking down from a plane and seeing the sights below.I love the climb.It’s two miles of strenuous climbing uphill, and even for a seasoned hiker it takes effort to make it up the last quarter mile to the top.