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Location:Texas, USA Naturalized US Citizen of Irish extract -   Fixed Wing and Helo trucker.Interests: "The Absurdity of Man". I am a proud supporter of Blarney, Nonsense, and Hooey. I enjoy being a chopper jockey, and trying to figure the world, people and belief systems out. I'm just not very good at it, so it keeps me real busy. I scribble, blog, run this website, mess with rental houses, ride motorbikes, and read as much as I can. I went solo 44 years ago, and I like to say I'm gonna get me a real job one day. When I grow up. ("but not just yet, Lord, not just yet") For my aviation scribbles see www.chopperstories.com.... enjoy! I wish you Peace in your Life. May you always walk with the sun on your face, and a breeze ruffling your hair. And may you cherish a quiet wonder for our awesome Universe. Life isn't always good. But it is always fascinating. Never quit.
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Of Helicopters and Humans (7) "The Road of Light"
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Of Helicopters and Humans (7)


The Road of Light


3/19/2010




     I went to a funeral today.
No, not a tragic, miserable, meaningless ritual. With grey faced folk, standing around, pretending so much they wished to be there. When they just really wanted it to be over...
No, not like that at all. In a strange way, a touching ceremony. A gentle celebration. Of the short life, of a young man, who died at age twenty-one.
It made me reflect. Think. It happens, once in a while.  I found myself pondering 'yardsticks'. The 'measures' with which we judge our personal circumstances in life. How lucky we are. Or not. How fortunate we are. Or not.  How 'blessed' we are. Or...
With a ruler, we measure inches and feet. Or centimeters, if you're a decimal freak.
With pounds, we measure weight. Or not. Especially after too much steak and beer.
Other 'yardsticks' or 'measures' are more difficult to calibrate...

*       *       *       *       *       *  


      Unless you have been there, as a chopper jockey, I don't think I can describe it to you.
I could try. But it will probably just be a jumble of meaningless words. It will never have the impact, that out-of-body surge of Awareness, that, afterwards, slowly, makes some of us realize that we have changed.
Changed as human beings. Forever.
But then again, I could be wrong. I often am. Luckily, there is never a shortage of willing souls prepared to point that basic fact out to me. How wrong, misinformed, misguided, and clueless I am. I hang my head in shame.  Yes, I am indeed barely a step up from the caveman. From Neanderthal Man. You can call me "Gormless Man", or "Clueless Man". I'm just another helicopter jockey.  So don't mind me...

     It's a Road of Light, you see. That's what is so impressive. So unique. So awe inspiring.
As you fly into the sun. In your helicopter. Over the ocean. Alone.
You have to squint, it's so bright. But everywhere, there is light. The Ocean is lit up. A million dancing lights, sparkle and fire, and bath your eyes in radiance.  You can see for an eternity. Ten miles. Fifteen miles. Twenty miles. Maybe more. Maybe a million. Light years...
       You are alone in your helicopter. Beating along, with that steady, purposeful, comfortable rumble. Helicopters have a soul. A heart. And they tell you things. How well you are tracked out. If you are flying in balance. When things are good... when things are not good.
      And today things are good. They are beyond good. They are beautiful. There is a serenity about the Ocean sky. The massive distances, far, far from shore. With not a ship, a boat, or a pebble of land in sight. Only sky. And waves. The flickering shadows of the blades. The hum and burble through the airframe.
      And the whirrings of your tiny mind...

     There is a peace here. A deep, deep calm. A calm not of waves, or wind, or streaking clouds. It's a calm of the Spirit. A calm of the Soul, if you believe in it. A calm in your mind and heart, where normally there is conflict, and stress. And deep, dark currents of doubt, swirling, fighting, with first one, and then the other gaining a short lived supremacy.  It is a calm of Acceptance. A calm of Knowing. A calm, born from a certain essential Doubt and Suffering. A needed Suffering, fathered by Solitude and painful Experience. A modest suffering, compared with that of many people in this world, but a certain distress nonetheless. And all that gone by, accepted, and forgiven. Acceptance...



    You check your power settings. Torque. Temperatures. And you find that all is good.
Fuel... it's good. You have plenty.
You drift back to where you were, in your strange reverie. Your strange, inner dialogue.
You find yourself thanking God for the great gifts of your senses, one by one.  
Sight. The incredible phenomenon of seeing. How come you have been blessed with sight all your life? And not stricken with blindness like millions of your fellow human beings?   You run your eyes to the horizon, and back to the tiny rivets at the edge of the windscreen frame. You luxuriate in this amazing privilege: to see.
Hearing.  The blades beat, the gears mesh, the engine whines, the wind sighs.... and you can hear all this. You can make sense of the different sounds. You know when a bearing starts to give out. That high pitched squeal you had, that came and went. That day.... when the mechanics wouldn't believe you. You know when the transmission or the hydraulics are starting to grind. You know what sounds are normal, healthy, even happy. You know what sounds spell danger, and require immediate action. The 'engine out' alarm, or the 'low rotor' beeping.  You know because you hear. And today.... all you hear is good.
Smell.   You remember the day the electrics went on fire. You could smell it before you saw the smoke, erupting into the cockpit. That strong, nostril assaulting odor of burning circuit boards. Smell is an amazing sense.  It's so easy to take it for granted. You remember the smell of parachute webbing, which you will recognize instantly, even after years.The smell of Jet A fuel in the morning, and the smell of fresh grass, as the rim of a weary sun slowly struggles above the distant, dark horizon.
Speech.  She said she loved you, but she didn't mean it. It was more a matter of form. It was expected. But then you too have been guilty of warped speech. Everybody has, at some stage. And yet, it is such an amazing instrument. Speech. The ability to convey deep, deep emotion. Or simple understanding. Or blazing contempt.
Of all the senses you would volunteer to lose the first, strangely, it might well be speech. I wonder why. Perhaps because it is the one you control, direct, harness....  the least. It's the one that gets away from you.
Or perhaps not. Are you the strong, silent type....? At home with quietude?
Touch. Instinctively, as you think about it, your fingers close more tightly around the cyclic.  You feel the beat of your living steed, the slight tell-tale vibrations of the mad gallop.  Touch is wonderful. The smooth, rounded edges of a carpenter's prized work, the roughness of fresh sand paper, and the softness of her baby hands in yours.

These are wonderful gifts to the helicopter pilot, all keenly and intensively utilized. Mostly for good.

But is there a sixth sense...?
You reflect again on that Road of Light you are flying along. The guiding path of illumination. With bright, bright, golden sunlight blazing and beckoning you. And you know.... the sixth sense is the single most important one. The sense of Awarenes.  If you are a little like me, you struggle perhaps with Authority. Perhaps, like me, you are in essence a non violent Anarchist. A person who instinctively distrusts all authority foisted upon him by Man.  A typical helicopter rebel. Be it the authority of the State, or Federal Authority, Society or Church. Maybe, just maybe, your experience meshes with mine: that Man corrupts all power he is given. Somehow or another, it has become hard to trust any politician, when barefaced lying is quickly forgotten by the gullible voting masses. It has become hard to trust Teachers and Pastors, Holy Men and Gurus, in the light of ample evidence of their easy corruption.... Even though you know your own limitations, intellectual and spiritual, do you, nonetheless, feel more safe, up here, at one thousand feet, and one hundred and thirty knots? Heading down that Road of Light?

As helicopter jockeys, we don't amount to much. We are not the leaders of the world, those cameleon, quicksilver politicians, who can bump their gums on television for hours, and seemingly never once lose their conviction that they are right, and everybody else is dumb and wrong.  Those politicians who by word and deed demonstrate that their grasp of Economics and History is but feeble. Those politicians who never bother to read books. Because they already know all the answers.  No, we simple helicopter jockeys cannot aspire to such lofty heights...

But there is no need.
We have our own lofty heights to claim. Our own, star studded, heavenly emporium.
It is our Destiny to sail above it all, above the mean and twisted bickering, the depraved and corrupt machinations of those who crave power. And those who wield it, arrogantly, yet fearfullly, lest they lose it...

For there is a Truth, written in our skies, that the helicopter jockey understands well, better, I respectfully submit,  than many a famed Leader of the mortal men below...  
A simple truth. As befits simple men to understand.
The Truth is that we know ourselves, as limited creatures, small and fragile.
The truth is that we venture into the skies, in our frail, man made craft, not as arrogant conquerors, but as humble pilgrims. We are seekers.  And as we pass along that Road of Light, as we pass by towering mountains of power and awe, past unseen rivers of air and thought, through endless mysteries of Ancient Laws...

We live. We truly live.



In a manner better, higher, and more noble. Than the frenzied ramblings of populist demagogues.

We breath.  We reflect. We wonder. We marvel... respectfully.

And in gratitude. For an extraordinary privilege.

*      *      *       *       *       *       *

     I went to a funeral today.
No, not a tragic, miserable, meaningless ritual. With grey faced folk, standing around, pretending so much they wished to be there. When they just really wanted it to be over...
No, not like that at all. In a strange way, a touching ceremony. A gentle celebration. Of the short life, of a young man, who died at age twenty-one.

He was born seriously handicapped. He was nearly blind, could not speak, and could barely hear.
The doctors thought he would not survive for long. They were wrong. They also thought he could never be able communicate with his environment. They were also wrong there.
Through the unstinting love of parents, family and carers, he learned to respond to human touch. He recognized the voices of his parents. He learned to play simple games, and even plinked out simple tunes on the piano keyboard. He was always gravely ill, and survived endless medical crises. He required twenty four hour care, which he was given, with never a complaint.
He did interact with his environment. In his own way. And in the caring that took place, there was a Beauty.
A gentleness, and a deep, deep compassion.

For us, who complain at times, about our lot, myself included.....
Ought we, perhaps, maybe fine tune or 'tweak' our 'yardsticks' a fraction or two?
Reconsider the way we measure?

Hm...

*      *      *       *       *       *       *

     It's a Road of Light, you see. That's what is so impressive. So unique. So awe inspiring.
As you fly into the sun. In your helicopter. Over the ocean. Alone.
You have to squint, it's so bright. But everywhere, there is light. The Ocean is lit up. A million dancing lights, sparkle and fire, and bath your eyes in radiance.  You can see for an eternity. Ten miles. Fifteen miles. Twenty miles. Maybe more. Maybe a million. Light years...

    And you wonder, just wonder, if young Justin, dead at age twenty-one, recently laid to rest...
if he can see now, what I'm seeing...

     A Road of Light, with a million dancing lights, that sparkle and fire, and bath your eyes in radiance ...




Francis Meyrick
     

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Last edited by admin on October 8, 2017, 11:34 am
We little humans, hurtling through the Universe on our tiny, pale blue dot, will find few answers to Life's great mysteries. But we should at least find many of the questions. To write is to ask. To seek. To grope. With humility, and humor. Peace.
 
katie

Beautiful, Moggy.


It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it. ~ Anais Nin ~
Posted on Sunday, March 21, 2010 at 22:05:09

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