If there was a clear blue sky on a weekend morning, he’d be up there.
Cloudy ones meant breakfast at the flying club with his also grounded buddies.
He even tried joining the RCAF out of high school, but was persuaded otherwise.
With university followed by work and supporting a family, flights of fancy were tucked away.
Tucked away, but not far enough to be out of reach.
A couple of decades later, one day he announced he was purchasing a plane and taking pilot lessons.
The rest of us were wondering what left field this idea came from.
Dad threw himself into studying and practicing everything he possibly could.
He took flying as far as he could and it infused most every part of his life.
We shouldn’t have been surprised when dad signed up for welding classes.
And pipes appeared in the garage along with blueprints in the mail.
Dad was building an Acrosport bi-plane.
Wings formed in the basement until they would no longer fit.
Then they moved to the garage where the fuselage began taking shape.
When mom was diagnosed with cancer, work was put on hold for a few years.
A few months after she passed, puttering about in the garage started up again.
Just when we were ready to celebrate the fuselage being done, dad tore it apart.
He didn’t like the welds and wanted them all redone.
(Important to know if one was ever considering a ride.)
Progress on the plane continued in between the comings and goings of life.
Times of concentrated work would be followed by lengthy lulls.
Slowly, but surely, the plane took steps towards something that might fly.
Eventually the plane was moved to the hangar for the much needed space.
Attaching wings for dry fitting measurements and permanent placement was more than a garage could handle.
His flying buddies, excited by each sign of progress, would ask when dad thought he would be done.
“Probably July,” he would answer.
When July came and went without a test flight, his buddies would ask what happened.
My dad’s responded with his standard, “I never said of which year.”
Ultimately, the plane was never finished.
Dad was starting to scope out the path to air worthiness certification when he died.
One might see that as a tragedy, but I see that more as a blessing.
I don’t think he actually wanted to finish.
He’d already said building another one was not in the cards.
Finishing the plane would be finishing a part of him too.
And face the not knowing of what next.
Funny how I’ve not thought of the plane in a long time.
But it came to mind just as I was beginning to bash myself over wasting time.
Here we are again at the start of November.
Here I am again, questioning what I’ve accomplished and where time has flown.
Maybe time flies by because it’s trying to be free of us.
Or trying to free us.
We surround ourselves in timers, clocks, calendars and planners.
Slow is bad. Faster is good.
Patience feels more like a hurdle, an excuse, or a code word for slacker.
12 week years are all the rage.
Quarterly results predict long term success.
Being agile and responding on the fly is in the new project management mode.
Ease and flow is great as long as it fits our expected timeline.
All in the name of what?
Does time serve us or do we serve time?
Remembering the plane is remembering to trust in something outside of time.
Something beyond myself.
Trusting in I will happen.
And Life will happen.
To see the steps rather than focus solely on end results.
Get lost in what’s here now because it will lead in some way to there.
Allowing the divergences because there is a way back.
Remembering the plane is remembering there’s no need to hurry.
Me and Life (and all of us) are in this together.
Life, you and me cannot be denied.
A matter of when, not if.
All in good time.
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