Soar

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Over The Edge”. If you would like to purchase a copy please use the contact instructions at the bottom of the page.

When I was a kid in the 1970s hang gliding was a pretty popular activity for anyone who had a mountain to launch from. I would stand on the edge of a cliff with my jacket held open so that I could feel the pull of the breeze. The sensation would always give me butterflies in my stomach. At some point I began to wonder if those butterflies came from breeze or the fact that was close to the edge. Not that I was ever really all that close. But I thought that I was. I would envision myself strapped to what was basically a giant kite gracefully floating on the wind as I soared down to the river. I would scour the library for books on flying and learned that as the warmer air radiated up from the canyon that it could take me higher and that it was possible to go even farther it you could surf the wind. There was even an unfulfilled plan to scavenge lumber and the black plastic sheets used in gardens to build a glider. Those plans were foiled when I couldn’t find enough straight nails to complete the build. I was about eight years old and the hardware store was too far away for my bicycle to get me there and back before my parents got home and so the glider remained as sketch on my school homework paper.

Today I still stand on the edge of the canyon and imagine that I’m soaring through the New River Gorge with the wind in my face. We have better options than a giant kite too. Power parachutes and GPS navigation via a pocket sized computer with hundreds (if not thousands) of times the computing power that NASA used to go to moon. And, the invention of the wingsuit proved that maybe an eight year old boy standing on the edge of a cliff with his jacket open wasn’t so far off base after all.

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The Power Of Flight

The power of flight has been part of mankind’s fascination throughout all of human history. I remember when I was very young that I would spend hours seated in the floor leafing through books about airplanes and flight in general. I was always especially drawn to the more exotic aircraft. DaVinci’s ornithopter was a particular favorite. I would study his drawings and try to memorize every line and curve of the craft. I tried to imagine how the pivot points would fit together and how the steering would function. I studied the works of those who came later and added hot air balloons and Zeppelin technology to the basic designs. Later I would Chuck Yeager’s biography about breaking the sound barrier for the first time. And there’s also the interview with a man who built an ultralight flyer that fit in a suitcase and escaped from East Berlin in it.

Today there’s the real possibility of the car in my driveway being replaced by a drone powerful enough to take me almost anywhere. (Nevermind that the Hiller Flying Platform and the Williams Wasp differed a similar technology decades ago) I’ve often commented to my wife that is such a shame that the best angles for certain photos were a hundred feet in air over the river. But the possibility of climbing aboard a quad-copter and shooting from the window is only a few steps away!

No matter what the future of flight holds in technology it will always bring romantic notions going where you want to when you want to. There will also be a crazy idea that with just a little tweaking will inspire the next generation of would be pilots who dream of having their very own wings.

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “The Magic Feather” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on my website.

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Soar

The shadow sweeps silently across the landscape and the forest freezes. The songbirds have stopped singing and the squirrels hug the trees tightly as they try their best to look like a piece of bark. Only the humans seem oblivious to the predator soaring in the sky above. He is a master of the sky. He flies higher and faster than anything living in the area. The wind speaks his name. It’s an ancestral call that he cannot resist. He dives from his perch in the tallest tree and skims the Treetops as he answers. His heart throbs with excitement as he reaches his speed and meets the wind. As he pulls upward into the flow his wings beat the air into submission with a wild thunder. Gravity fails to bind him as he achieves the apex and locks his wings. It’s time to soar. As he dances with the breeze something stirs deep within his core being. It is the quickening in his spirit. He is at one with the phoenix, aileron and the roc. He is king of the sky.