Monday, January 25, 2010
Everyone Loves the Sound of a Plane in the Distance
I’m a little over the rain. I know we need it, but after what seems like weeks of gray skies, I’m ready for the precipitation to fall somewhere else, like maybe right into the Hetch Hetchy Resevoir. I think it’s more important that the rain fall somewhere useful, rather than on my already sodden lawn, which is starting to look like a music festival just happened there.
Still, there is one silver lining, so to speak, to all these clouds: When the weather is bad here, airplanes fly very low over our house. I secretly love this. Today was one of those special days when the weather was bad enough that planes used the foul-weather flight path, but good enough that the clouds didn’t hide my view of the aircraft. It was ideal plane-spotting weather. Most of the airplanes I saw today were little 737s, but I caught a glimpse of a few bigger ones, which I imagined to be international flights headed to SFO.
That’s a large part of what I like about these massive pieces of machinery roaring over my neighborhood. I like to speculate about where each plane has come from, where it’s going, and who is on it. Is it someone’s first time on a plane? Is anyone on board going to start a new life when they get where they’re going? Who’s on a dream vacation, and who’s coming home after way too long? Why am I standing in a muddy yard when I could be on that plane, having some kind of adventure myself?
It occurs to me that the whine of jet engines a few thousand feet up is like the train whistle of the 21st century. It’s a harder noise to write a blues song about, but on a moody day, airplanes in the rain inspire some of the same lonesome longing you get from a freight train in the distance.