August Skys

I’m not sure why I share this, maybe it’s just been all-consuming and I need to cast my thoughts your way?

Today I launched into a beautiful sky! Once clear of the mountain side, I wiggled my butt deep into my harness and got my feet in the stirrup just in time to hear my vario scream. I felt the steady pull upward, and leaned right forcing my wing into a flat turn and following a thermal upward. As I looked down, I saw a Raven below working the same ribbon of air.

My harness is as comfortable as any lawn chair, and my view…. how can one improve on a bird’s-eye view?  I looked at the valley below, and note my remaining days are numbered.  I reflect on how different people are, and what is important to us. My thoughts once again turn to a vision of being old and crippled with no way off the porch. What would it be like to spend long days there with no memories of climbing mountains, sailing the waters of Puget Sound, or best of all.. sailing across a deep blue sky?

I reflect on my friend Ken B. who lost his life the week prior chasing his dreams. On his Face Book page is a plea made by another not to take our lives for granted. I know that message was meant for me and others who share the same passions Ken did.

I’ve been thinking about risk assessment VS luck assessment, again.. it gets right back to how different we all are. I don’t gamble at all when it comes to games of chance and money.., I think it’s crazy as the odds are so NOT in your favor.

Social Networks like Facebook add a new and eerie dimension to death. I visit Kens page and see his smiling, and almost boyish fiftyish face. He looked more than a little like Clint Eastwood, and there were times when he had the same quiet manner. I see my posts there, posts of mutual friends… and of course his last post.

His FB Page is like a Shrine, the essence of his life, pages of good times and great times, and now the only entries that will ever be added are by his friends. “We miss you Ken, but few of us have had the time for it to sink in how final our parting is. I’ll always remember that last cell call.. “It’s a piss poor connection Ken, there’s a cold oatmeal stout waiting for you at the LZ”. I hope he heard that…

As for my day, it sucked mostly… but that afternoon flight changed my mood… It was a perfect launch, and I flew as long as I wanted and then came down from the mountain like some hawk and landed with a flair, and a smile that’s still there.

No one can take away the living I did today, nor can they take the good memory.  I might relive it one hundred times when I can no longer stray from the porch.


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4 Responses to August Skys

  1. Harold says:

    Morning George

    It’s been a long while since I missed one of your posts. I do appreciate your website. It’s one of my favorites.

    I’m not sure why you shared your thoughts either, but I am glad you did. Right now I can’t think of a more pleasing experience than to have been your wing man. I got my private license in ’75 at a military aero club in Illinois. Family additions and reality set in shortly after the magical day so club dues, rental fees and biannual flight reviews soon fell by the wayside. I have far too few memories of farmland slipping by under the clear blue and frigid Illinois winter skies, at peace with the world and with myself. The much delayed work-around Ragwing Special ultra-light sits half finished in my basement as I wile away time at the keyboard, a situation I swore would never happen to me. Even if I finish it now I have outgrown its 200 pound useful load limit. It was a bad idea.

    I too have lately awakened to the mortality of my current situation. I’m at least a few years beyond your age and have conceded to the fact that my left hip joint is about worn out prohibiting the long walks I enjoyed just a few years ago and my right shoulder and wrist feels sharply the years of abuse received from a “little too heavy” framing hammer (my second career). After three retirements, if you count social security, I live pretty comfortably and am finally able to do as little as I wish. Blessing—or curse? I’m not sure.

    I can still get off the porch pretty well. It’s that myriad of other things I used to do without a second thought that I can no longer do well, or do at all, that really make the difference. The retina repair didn’t go as well as I had hoped, leaving me with a lack of up-close depth perception, not a good thing when mixed with sharp tools or high voltage. If there’s a reason to my ramblings it is to encourage you to stay the course of living life to the fullest. It is truly a wise or lucky man that realizes life is limited before it’s too late to do anything about it. I believe you’re that man.

    And even though I’ve read it somewhere before I really mean it when I say

    All the best to you


    • George B. says:


      You add depth to what I wrote. We both understand we are here for such a short time. DIYers are Birds of a Feather. We have so much in common, and perhaps ‘doing for ourselves’ is the first thread that unites us.

      The greatest gift retired folks have is time to think. I know people who have lived well past a half century and still haven’t made the time, and many are in lofty positions.

  2. Phil P says:

    Being a retiree I find that I can still do most anything I used to do. It just takes a bit longer. Enjoy yourself and do what you like best while you are still able.

    I would love to fly but in IL there are no cliffs or mountains to jump from, just flat corn and soy bean fields.

    I find myself just as busy as when I was still working, there is always something to do or repair. I cannot stand to be a couch potato, I must always be doing something constructive.

    Have a nice flight George.
    Phil P.

    • George B. says:

      But Phil, you are part of the movement….. Born to do it for yourself… not to watch other men toil on your behalf! It’s why you are still healthy and able.

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