Feeling At Home

On the ground I’m a klutz. It’s not until I’m done pre-flighting an airplane that I “morph” into a graceful being (and I have the scars from trailing edges to prove it). But in the air, that’s where nobody notices my self-concious 6′ 2″ – 200 pound frame bumbling around, or my size 14 feet tripping over things.In the air I’m like a ballet dancer. I’m talking at the right time, doing the right thing, making all the right moves, gracefully soaring on the wings of a Cessna. Back on the ground again, I become my usual klutzy self. I mispronounce words, misplace things, whatever I shouldn’t do – I somehow manage to do.I used to wonder where in life I fit. Back in grade school it became obvious that I was no athlete. I lacked coordination and running skills. In fact, I was one out of three guys in my sixth grade class, whom the coach would allow to be last in any competiton. (Of the other two, one had a weight problem and the other a disability.) I wasn’t a straight A student either. (I usually didn’t like the straight A students.)My teachers would always say that I just wasn’t working up to my potential. I’d try, but the blue skies, fluffy white clouds, the birds, or just about anything outdoors, would soon have me daydreaming in class. Oh, at one time I thought I could be an artist, but when my seventh grade art teacher tried to talk to me about symmetry, I realized I wasn’t that either. (Well, for awhile, I thought I was like the fifth Monkee, because I could sing along with their records so well. But, my older brother took the time to very graciously explain that I tend to sing way, way off key. He even demonstrated to me how I sounded.)But, in the air, that’s where I belong. Just the other day I went flying with my instructor to get checked out in an airplane. It all went smoothly and she complimented me on my landings. Then, as I tried to exit the airplane, my feet became entangled in my headphone cable, causing the headphones to come flying out while I tripped to the ground. As I tried to catch the headphones I bumped my head on the wing strut. A witness to my horrendous dismount remarked, “I don’t believe you can even fit in there.”Well, I felt a little awkward, until I noticed my instuctor tying down the airplane. When she was finished she stood up, right under the tail, banging her head. Our eyes met, and I gave her a knowing glance. We know where we belong.