Tuesday, 7 September 2010

2010 September 7--Living near a flight path

This morning the skies are full of multi-coloured clouds--from off white to water-laiden gray.  I love the four seasons and this late summer-moving-into-autumn is beautiful.  The clouds parcel out the rain as they are pushed by the wind from east to west.

It can be showering down fat, plopping water drops one minute and the sun shining the next.  It is Madam Weather at her most mysterious.   

We live about six miles from Heathrow airport.  Its great when our friends come to visit.  But one of the side affects is that every minute another areoplane crosses the path of our skyline--either leaving Heathrow or arriving into Heathrow.  

As a child of an Air Force sargent, I spent the first eleven years of my life hearing areoplane engines hum as the crafts flew overhead.  It took no adjustment to living in a flight-path for air travel.  It was nostalgic, comforting, familiar and even fun. 

This morning as I sat on our russet coloured sofa, watching the wind shove the rain and clouds over the park, I watched a BA flight climb up into the clouds.  The engine sounds echoing into the cloud banks reminded me a another time, another era.

Seventy years ago the Battle of Britian was raging in the air and on the ground.  The sound of a single areoplane for the people of London and southern England was only a warning that soon up to sixty British Spitfires would be criss-crossing the skies, their engines droning and machine gun fire spitting bullets.  Whereas I hear the planes go in succession, the citizens of England would have heard the rolling drone of simultaneous machines flying in formation like a flock of metal geese.  

I can't imagine how the civilians of England felt to see and hear those flying fighting machines; 
fear--knowing that the Germans were trying to decimate not only buildings and property but also the moral of the common folk;  
comfort--knowing that those men (whom Winston Churchill described as the "so few" ) were summoning their courage, determination, skill and experience to protect, defend and presevere their homes and the nation they loved;  
determination--believing that they played an important part in refusing to give up, attempting to rebuild and simply "getting on with it";
opportunity--seeing a chance to profit from the caous surrounding them.  I have to be realistic, as during the Battle of Britian, it was Britian at its best and Britian at it's worst. 

A friend of mine was just telling me that even in my local area we played an important role in the Battle of Britian.  Hawker Hurricanes were assembled in a factory here in Langley.  Uxbridge was also a major base for WWII; Uxbridge is about five miles from Langley.

All these thoughts roll across my mind, because of the catalyst of a single jet climbing into the clouds.  I wonder how many other quiet moments will lead me into remembering what others have invested to provide the opportunities I have today.   

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