I walked outside this morning after the first good night’s sleep in years, and watched birds flit around the trees, singing on a beautiful sunny morning. My eye fell on the small dogwood tree in the front yard, where a colorful litle fabric airplane is hanging, its wind spinner turning in the breeze, and I started to cry.
You see, that little airplane has come a long, long way. Many many years ago, on the day I passed my private pilot check ride as a 17-year old high school senior, I flew from Gainesville to Cedar Key for my first flying adventure. Edna (the grizzled old crazy taxi lady) gave me a harrowing ride in her battered station wagon from the airport to the downtown Cedar Key area by the docks. While there I saw a little fabric plane sold by a local artist in a shop, and thought to myself “one day, when I have my own house on an airport and my own little seaplane, I will hang that little airplane in the yard and remember this day.” I knew the day that little airplane would commemorate would be a long time coming, and already I was worried how I would afford to continue flying.
For years I carried that little airplane with me in a box of precious things, and would take it out to look at it. There were some long dark years when I didn’t get to fly, and my whole world seemed awful, and I couldn’t even stand to look at the sky. That little airplane stayed hidden in a dark closet corner, buried, like I buried my memories of flight. And yet still I carried it with me everywhere I moved.
A few days ago, as I was looking through items stored away that I had not yet unpacked, I found the box with that little airplane, its colors still bright despite the long passage of the years. I hung it from a little tree in my yard, on the path to the hangar, and now every time I look out my office window, or step out the front door to go flying, it is there to remind me that sometimes dreams do come true.