Yes, I love to fly. As I headed for the airport in San Antonio this morning at 3:30 am, I began to hear B.W. Stevenson’s “Texas Morning” playing in my head.
The San Antonio weather has been wild with the remnants of a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico blowing in and wreaking havoc. On my way in to Saint Anthony’s town, we sat on the runway in Dallas until 55 mile per hour winds died down and then circled SAT for a while for the same reason. When the winds reach a particular speed one is not allowed to land. I talked to a couple of good old boys who had already been to San Antone once then were sent back to wait at DFW.
I recall, some years ago, I was at DFW. A storm came rolling in and a plane was landing when a monstrous downdraft sucked it all the way down too soon. There’s a freeway just north of DFW Airport and some poor fellow had just moved to Dallas and gotten himself a job. As I remember, it was his first day, or maybe his first week and he was on the freeway that morning and the landing gear of the airliner brushed the top of his car and crushed it and him.
And then the plane hit too soon, missing the runway, and too hard and I looked out an airport window that early morning and the air was filled with fire and smoke. So I have no problem with taking our time to land.
I walked out of the San Antonio airport two days ago, and the sky was harsh brushstrokes of gray and black and wind whipped in all directions at once. It smelled like storm and I was reminded of growing up in Texas and just how fierce the weather could get.
It only dribbled on me as I drove to my hotel and when I went down to the Riverwalk for dinner it just rained hard enough to wet my glasses so I couldn’t see.
That night storms boiled and thundered all around and the rain pounded the window of my hotel room. I was content as Mother Texas rocked me in her roaring bosom.
The next day was merely cloudy and so humid it felt like you could reach up and peel the weather off of your face and now my glasses fogged up. I didn’t really see much of San Antonio on this trip, but I experienced it.
It is before dawn, as I walk toward the terminal, the bus driver, a very nice and dedicated Hispanic gent, regales me with his exploits. For 22 years he has driven a terminal bus and never even been late for work once. In the dead quiet of a hot and humid San Antonio 4am I notice the insects—moths bang against the terminal window and crickets hop around me.
“Right in the middle of a ten cent scenery
Shuffled and stacked on a postcard rack
There’s a cute little kid on a Shetland pony
Smiles at me, I can’t smile back.
Cactus Jack drinks coffee black
Tells me it’s my lucky day
Five o’clock in the Texas morning
I come a long, long way.”
“…crackle, crackle…” The airplane shudders in the air currents. Will Stockdale spits into the back of the radio, “Hello…hello?” I look out the window and the wing lights flash through the pre-dawn cloud cover. “Sparks, what’s going on, can you reach the tower?”
I remember this scene. Now we will break through the clouds and see below us gigantic ferns and a diplodocus or two. “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”
I shake my head to clear the morning cobwebs. How did I get on a plane to DFW? Wasn’t I just returning from there? Someone hit the fast forward and DFW is my connection again, this time on the way to BWI, Baltimore-Washington International.
Have I said that I love to fly? Ho, ho, strike up the band Willie, I’m on the road again. Behind me a tank-top-clad mother with color tattoos spilling out of her shirt all around her neck and down her shoulders, is cursing her children in a stage whisper. The little darlings are kicking the back of my seat.
Across the aisle, an elderly man—meaning older than me—is reading a magazine, well reading isn’t quite right, it is filled with photos of scantily-clad young women. But at least he isn’t drooling.
The woman to my right, in the center seat, is reading a magazine filled with photos of scantily-clad young women, but what clothing these are wearing I would classify as “fashionable.”
“Yip, yip,” at first I thought the flight attendant had the hiccups, but now I realize there is a dog somewheres about. From the lack of profundity in its bark I infer a very small dog, perhaps a chihuahua.
Sometimes I play a game and try and guess what people’s faces look like. I spend a great deal of time staring at the backs of people’s heads. I am almost always wrong.
The sun is on the horizon or we have risen up to meet it. I will see good friends, commercial friends, amigos de la calle in the suburbs of Baltimore, and other friends, mi casa et su casa friends and I come bearing tea and books including our new Pathfinder Advanced Player’s Guide and my godchild: Jason C.S. Chen’s A Tea Lover’s Travel Diary. Both available at Amazon and other find book retailers.
My GPS is primed to get me from BWI to Timonium and other nearby destinations.
Did I mention that I love to fly?