A world without planes? How sad

The last few days have been really quite surreal. Most of the people who read this are probably aware that I’m pretty strange about planes; I’m really childishly excited by them, and fascinated by flight in general. I’m one of those strange people who notices most planes, and who turns their head to follow a set of flashing lights in the sky at night.

So four or five days without seeing anything more in the sky than a police helicopter and a random Cessna is very strange. Not quite strange enough to touch off thoughts like this, but still plenty strange.

How we would admire planes if they were no longer there to frighten and bore us. We would stroke their steel dolphin-like bodies in museums and honour them as symbols of a daunting technical intelligence and a prodigious wealth.

We would admire them like small boys do, and adults no longer dare, for fear of seeming uncynical and unvigilant towards their crimes against our world.

Despite all the chaos and inconvenience of our disrupted flight schedules, we should feel grateful to the unruly Icelandic volcano – for allowing us briefly to imagine what a flight-less future would envy and pity us for.

It’s quite strange; I’m a cynic about so many things, but about this I’ve never lost the small boy sense of wonder. And if this little episode brings that sense of wonder back to people, then at least something good has come from it.

But I’ll still not be sad to see the contrails back in the sky. I miss them a bit.
And with two siblings having to check the braving the ferries across the North Channel over the weekend, I just count myself lucky that I picked last weekend to do my most recent visit home…

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