Home for me is Pensacola, Florida. I may not live there any more, but I still have family there. I don’t visit as often as I’d like to, but I’ve been trying to get home more these days. I planned a trip home after recovering from my last reconstruction surgery just to get some nice salt air in my lungs, and to let everyone see that I’m doing better.
After being turned away at the balloon fest due to high winds in the morning. We decided to check out the area. Zebulon has no hotels and the closest city is Wilson, about 20 miles away. We decided to check out the town while waiting for balloon launch time. They have an airport right behind the hotel, so we decided to venture to it and see if anything was flying. I can always take a picture or two of an airplane, right?
If it flies, it will probably get my attention. When I was at Sun n’ Fun earlier this year, they were scheduled for a balloon launch early one morning. I’d never seen a hot air balloon up close and I wanted to photograph them. The pictures I’ve seen are so beautiful, so I thought it would be amazing to get a chance to see them. I got up early and got my camera ready and never saw a balloon.
It’s been just over two weeks since my reconstruction surgery was done after my mastectomy. I was looking forward to getting this one behind me. It’s been a lot more difficult and painful than I thought it would be, and they only gave me two weeks of medical leave this time. I’ve struggled more with this surgery than I thought I would have.
I obviously have a thing for airplanes, but I think there’s a difference between enjoying flying and really admiring the workmanship and engineering that goes into building aircraft. I love to fly, but I’m amazed at the technology that goes into creating and designing airplanes. Taking a concept from the drawing board, to manufacturing and ultimately to flying has to be an unbelievable process. I not only admire this but love the beautifully crafted results, especially designs that are successful and have stood the test of time through the ages. The distinct and unique sounds of an engine that fit perfectly with a breathtaking frame, conjure up images in my mind of days past when these beauties were abundant and filled the skies with their presence.
I’ve dreamed of flying in a biplane since I was sixteen years old, after reading Richard Bach’s, Illusions. His tales of barnstorming across the farm fields of the midwest wrapped my imagination around a world that was completely foreign to me. It was one I longed to experience for myself. When I’ve dreamt of flying, it’s always been in a biplane. I never had the opportunity until I started going to air shows recently, and realized that you could still pay to take a ride in one of these gorgeous planes.
My first really big air show and it’s in my home state of Florida. I started thinking about it last year when my brother-in-law mentioned that it was right in his back yard. After being grounded and trying to find a way to stay connected to flying, planes and people that love aviation, I started looking for some air shows to go to and photograph. Sun-n-Fun just happens to be the one that kicks off the season.
My wonderful oncologist, true to his word, got me in to the Senior Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) to work with me on getting back to flying. I was so excited to have this appointment scheduled; I couldn’t wait to go. It’s probably the first time that I’ve ever been anxious to go to a doctor’s appointment, especially lately with my recurring list of appointments. I’m beginning to feel like an old person that has to plan their week around all of their medical appointments. Geez…
I don’t think you wake up one morning and say I think I’m going to be brave today. I don’t think courage is something you consciously decide to do. I think courage comes from within and unexpectedly, in moments when you decide not to give up regardless of how you’re feeling. I think it comes when you decide to push on in spite of obstacles in your way. Sometimes, I think it comes when you decide to sit out for a round. I believe that knowing when you’ve had enough and need a rest also takes courage. Sometimes, it takes a leap of faith that comes from somewhere deep inside of you to muster the courage you need to proceed.
I can say with some certainty that I understand how a broken winged bird must feel. Once you’ve tasted flight, felt the wind in your wings, looked down on Earth from a clouds view, how could you live a life grounded for the rest of your days?