As I write this, the final moments of the year are upon us. And while some of the western world is still asleep, I find myself working on a task I would rather not: keeping up on the QZ8501 tragedy.
Trevor told me about it as we chatted late Saturday night. Since then, I’ve found myself constantly checking news sources for the latest information with the hope that, somehow, another A320 miracle may have taken place. As the situation continues to develop, it appears that it won’t happen.
It’s often been said that travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer. As I have claimed before, it’s the people, and the experiences that we have with and through them, that deliver the returns. Perhaps that is why I’ve grown to love our hobby so much: no matter where I go in the world, I will never walk alone.
I personally don’t know anybody directly affected by that flight. But I don’t suppose I need to in order to show compassion and sorrow for their tragedy. To borrow an idea from Shakespeare, those who fly alongside me are my brethren; even for that short period of time, we share a bond based around a destination. Going somewhere new or coming home again doesn’t matter – what does matter is that we’re going there together.
In just over 24 hours, many of us will partake in revelry to celebrate the new year. But this year, let’s take the time to celebrate the people in our lives. Let’s not be afraid to laugh, to cry, and to truly enjoy the places we get to visit next year. As this event puts into sobering perspective, nothing in life is granted or guaranteed.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, –and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of –Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
-“High Flight,” by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.