Every now and then, a scene—an observation–brings a big smile to my face. This morning was one of those as I drove through town to meet friends for coffee.
The school bus was coming towards me, and slowing down. I assumed it was going to stop to pick up a student. I slowed also with plenty of clearance to the bus. First the flashers came on, then the red flashers and stop sign extended out from the side. I rolled to a stop and looked for children.
Out of a car parked on the side street stepped a school girl, maybe 7-years old. Maybe 8. She had a pink backpack and was wearing a pink mask. She ran towards the bus, arms waving in the air as if to say “hi” to someone or everyone on the bus. She behaved absolutely joyful to be getting on the bus and seeing friends.
It brought a big smile to my face. The innocence of kids. The joy of seeing friends or going to school. Absolutely magical.
The bus flashing lights turned off. The stop sign rolled back to the side of the bus, and it began to roll. I waved to the bus driver. She waved back.
The night was perfect. Unusually clear sky. Stars shining brightly at about 9 p.m. The phone app, ISS Detector, had signaled the impending flyover of the International Space Station, and it was going to be almost directly overhead on an arc from horizon to horizon for about five minutes.
I stood in my backyard, phone in hand, watching the image of an approaching Space Station coming closer and closer to my viewing spot. And then, there it was rising above the trees, ascending into better view. It shines because its height above the earth is actually reflecting the sunshine off its surface.
Seven astronauts doing their space thing flying along at about 17,000 miles per hour, with all that technology and science. I am in awe to be able to watch such an event. It gets me every time, and this one was perfect.
About one mile away, workers and volunteers were still setting up for the annual Farm Club Antique Tractor Show. I guess tractors were still arriving and being moved into their places for display even at that hour. I could hear the deep chug of a tractor being moved, the kind of sound that only an antique tractor can make. It’s not a smooth whir of an engine, but a deep, single sound of an engine: chug…chug…chug…chug.
I listened to this tractor while watching the Space Station fly over, and it was such a contrast in technology. Overhead is this marvel of technology and science flying silently across the sky, and over at the farm, an antique tractor fills the air with its marvelous low-end mechanical sound. Viewing one and hearing the other was an observation in how far we have come as a civilization. It was surreal.
It is fun to watch such an event with others, to talk about that magnificent object flying overhead. We would have talked about the Space Station until it was out of sight. But, I was solo on this night. If there had been others, I might not have heard the antique tractor which made it surreal. Was being alone meant to be? Fate? Karma? Synchronicity? Perhaps.
I can’t wait until the next time the Space Station flies over.
Wind in my face to a place of rest. A calmness comes over me, soothing, relaxing, restoring my soul. Quiet except for the sound of Spring. Birds chirping. A slight breeze blowing. Escaping the drama of the world, ending with wind in my face going home.
Ed. Note: March 21, 2021 is International Poetry Day.
Spring air coaxes me on as I lean into the curves. The park is filled with families, kids in the playgrounds. Overhead, an airplane tows a glider, ready to be released to near total freedom, but it must return to earth. The motorcycle awaits. It is the total freedom machine.
I’m a map guy. I love to study maps. Paper maps mostly, but the digital versions can be just as intriguing. There was an older BMW ad that I loved, even though I don’t own that brand of motorcycle it read: “My favorite author? Rand McNally.” That about says it right there.
Some time ago, I noticed on a paper map an airport that I had never seen. There it was on the map, and I have been past that location many times, but have never seen it. It even shows up on my Gaia GPS. The San Mar Gale Airport.
Of course, the airport is closed now, and this is what it looks like from Waynesville Road nearest the end of what was the airstrip. The strip is just over the back end of my V-Strom.
I had to do a little searching to find out that the airport was closed in the 1990s. It was probably a grass strip, which made it easy to convert to agriculture. It had an official airport designation, but I could not find a record of that.
There are a couple of other private, abandoned airfields in Warren County, and they most likely were on farms, much like this one. It is exploration like this, and detailed maps like the DeLorme Gazeteers and Gaia GPS that reveal opportunities for a motorcycle adventure.