31 March 2008

living under a flight-path and the wake of our lives


Stef and I have been walking at night lately. We put on our sneakers and just start walking around the neighborhood. It is as much a way to get out as it is exercise. We really enjoy walking at night, as simple as it is, if only because Johannesburg was too dangerous a place to do such a thing.

The neighborhood we are living in is directly in the flight-path of the San Antonio International Airport. More directly, we walk every night under the last few seconds of airplanes' "final descent". People skate right over us in mammoth silver birds. Fathers return from business trips on Continental. Families arrive for vacation on Southwest. Presents and packages sneak into the city on DHL and UPS planes - at the same time every night.

And there is something weird that happens when you walk under planes ripping through the air. First, you can literally hear the air tearing as the planes comes through. The sound is unmistakable and, admittedly, a little eerie. More bizarre still is the sound that pours from the sky a full minute after the plane has passed over. A roaring, ripping noise again pours down from the heavens, almost like all of the displaced air is now draining back into place, tumbling back into the destiny created for it. (From the internet: "As objects travel through the air, the air molecules are pushed aside with great force and this forms a shock wave much like a boat creates a bow wave. The bigger and heavier the aircraft, the more air it displaces.")

The point of all of this is that I cannot see a plane fly over head and not marvel at the enormity of things around me. More importantly, I cannot hear the air roaring through the night without being reminded that everything, even those long since passed, leaves a wake.

In our lives, we roar through, ripping and tearing through the fabric of this world in order to get wherever it is that we are going. We rarely stop to consider the wake we leave. We can live purposefully, though. We can be mindful that every step we take leaves a footprint behind us, a tracer for others to see. We can choose today to live for that legacy.

Another World is Possible.

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