And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day. Genesis 1:6-8I have always enjoyed being in the air, high above the ground, separated from the cares and concerns of life on the ground. I know that eventually I'll be back down there, amongst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but that's okay. I live for those moments when I can be aloft. Watching the clouds. Looking at the deep blue vault of the Heavens.
Flying down to Virginia on Saturday required my presence at the airport very early in the morning. Every day there is an 0600 flight down to Reagan. So I was up and about while most of the neighbors were still abed. While I am not a morning person per se, that's more about not wanting to get up early than having a problem with morning itself.
Many were the days back in my youth when I greeted the sun after a long night at work. My favorite mornings were those on Okinawa when I worked in the Radar Cal docks. Our shop was out on the flightline itself. Down below the F-4 Phantom parking ramp, close by a couple of C-130 hard stands. Just down the slope from us was the runway.
In the early, early mornings, before the sun got too hot, I would sit outside after a long night and watch the day begin. In those days I was a smoker, don't judge me, and I would take the opportunity to sit out back of the dock, light one up and watch the base awaken.
On some days I'd watch the first tanker head out to support the day's missions. This was after all back in the bad old days, the days of the Cold War. Over the horizon to the West was the mass of mainland China. To the Northwest was North Korea, far to the North were the Russians. The Soviets as some called them, to us they were always the Russians.
But in the early morning light, all that had no meaning, no existence. For a few brief moments, everything was perfect. Then the phone would ring, day shift would show up and it was back to reality.
So while I don't like awakening too early, I still love the mornings.
Saturday we were gear up at 0600. The muted greens and browns of a wet spring morning were quickly swallowed by the overcast. Into the cotton fuzz we went. While that is somewhat disconcerting, as we trust to our pilots and their instruments, I always reason that one way or the other, we'll get through the cloud. So far we always have.
Once we got above the lower layer (I could see at least two more above us), the sunlit cloudscape was spread out before me. No towering storm clouds, just an unbroken layer of wool (for so it appeared).
That was pretty much the view for the first 45 minutes of the trip. Somewhere over Maryland the clouds began to thin and I could begin seeing bits and pieces of the landscape far below. Time to put the book away and watch the show.
Hhmm, those photos are fuzzier than I would like, but hopefully you get an impression, however vague, of how things looked as we made our approach into Reagan. After a week of unending drizzle and rain back home, it was good to see the sun.
Trip complete. A short and lovely trip, up into the sky which separates the waters.
Into the vault of the heavens.