From The Fence I’d Catch The Wind.

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I remember when I was little, maybe 4 or 5 years old, one particularly windy day.  The gusts were strong enough to catch my breath slightly, and offer resistance when I leaned forward.  It quickly occurred to me that this might finally be my chance to learn how to fly.

I climbed onto the ledge of our fence and leapt off with all my might, trying to catch the wind, convinced that it was strong enough to support my weight and take me on at least a short flight.  In my imagination, I could see and feel what it would be like – the sensation of air all around me, and the delightful dip in my stomach as I swooped upwards and downwards.

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A spontaneous sketch, quickly drawn one morning upon waking (Dec 8, 2013).

I don’t know for how long I tried, but I kept at it again and again before finally sensing, with some disbelief, the futility of my efforts.  Undefeated, I decided that maybe it was necessary to wait for a windier day.  Decades have passed, and I chuckle when I think back on that moment, but the truth is that I still love flight (…although I’ve accepted it is easier done as a passenger on an airplane).

The last time I flew was this past month, January.  This flight was different, though.  I was on my way home after my dad’s funeral, and my childhood felt far away.

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When I booked the ticket, I hadn’t  looked that carefully, and failed to realize that I would be flying on a turboprop (instead of a jet).  The experience of flying on a turboprop turned out to be unique from flying on a jet.

I had paid extra for a window seat, but soon discovered that the propeller was pretty much right outside my window, and the seat was rather crammed.

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I also noticed that the vibrations from the engine were definitely stronger than on a jet.  I didn’t mind, though, because it increased the sensation of take off and landing, which I always find exhilarating.

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The biggest difference between a jet and a turboprop, though, was that this plane flew lower and slower, so the trip took longer.  Interestingly, this turned out to be exactly what made the flight special.

Why?  The sky was clear and it was around sunset, so flying lower and slower, I could see the details of the world below in a way that one can’t from up at 38,000 feet in the air, like on a big 747 jet.  With my cell phone on airplane mode, I took pictures of the view.

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Months ago, in late October of 2015, I flew to Edmonton to see my father when he was placed under palliative care. He was thinner than I can describe, and he could hardly speak, but still managed a couple of wisecracks to make me laugh.  I remember the morning that I was heading back home to Winnipeg, after that visit.  It was something like 5:00 am.  I sat at the airport alone, tears streaming down my face.  I knew it was probably the last time I’d see my dad, and I was right.

He died early in December.  The funeral was held in January.

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On my flight home after the funeral, despite my sadness, I found myself also feeling reverence.  Reverence for this incredible, fleeting gift of life.  Reverence for that very moment, looking out that tiny window at the beautiful world bathed in the pink light of the dying day, as I flew above it all on an 18,000 Kg piece of metal.

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Last year, in 2015, I lost an aunt, my father in law, and my own father.  (Our two family pets also died.)

It was a hard year, but loss – like all difficult experiences, really-  has a lot to teach us.

In a recent interview with The Cancer Society, Blogger Christopher Foster (more than 80 years of age) expressed one of the key lessons he’d learned as a cancer survivor: “I think that, in trying to suppress my fear, I suppressed my joy.  Conversely, now that I’m facing the fear–the joy has been increasing. I’m a pretty happy guy now.”  That simple idea succinctly touches on a profound truth.  Numbing ourselves from sorrow or fear results in numbing ourselves from joy.  Learning to face the full range of emotions that life inspires helps to make us stronger, and lead richer lives.

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Today, I want to leave you with these words by author Elisabeth Kubler-Ross from the book, “To Live Until We Die”.  I found the book in October, on a cart of free give-aways at the library.  I didn’t read the whole book, just a few chapters, but loved her closing words:

“… To love means never to be afraid of the windstorms of life.  Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms, you would never see the true beauty of their carvings… [People benefit from learning to] expose themselves to these windstorms, so that at the end of their own days, they will be proud to look in the mirror and be pleased with the carvings of their own canyon.”

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Published by

Carina Spring

Hi! So glad you stopped by my little blog, where I joyfully embrace creativity. Here, at Home... hurrah!, I celebrate the beauty and depth of everyday moments, explore what life has to teach us, and share some of the interesting things I see and learn along the way. Thanks for the visit!

20 thoughts on “From The Fence I’d Catch The Wind.”

    1. Hello Cynthia, thank you so much for visiting my blog and for taking the time to share the kind words. I am looking forward to reading your book, “A Good Home”. Take care!

  1. Carina,

    You did a beautiful job at combining the idea of enjoying the small pleasures of life while enduring those events that define us. 2015 and 2016 have been difficult years for many of my friends. A lot of them are loosing their parents. We must be at the age where these sad and inevitable events start to happen.
    Life is so beautiful, even if death is part of it. Beautiful post.

  2. Thank you for sharing such personal memories. I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your father. Thinking of you and sending love and strength as you step on. I also send the wish that your wind storms have abated for a while now xxx

  3. Dear Carina, I loved this post. Probably my favorite so far. Loved the pictures from the turboprop. Even more, your words as you process through the grief of the loss of your dad. I can only imagine what a difficult flight home that was after saying goodbye. And yet you were somehow able to see the bigger picture of what a gift this life truly is. The quotes by Christopher Foster and Elisabeth Kubler-Ross were so profound and I couldn’t agree more. I have suffered some hardship in my life on the journey, and it’s precisely the hardships that have made me who I am. Embracing the pain and hardship rather than numbing to it also allows me to fully experience the joys when they come. So sorry for all the losses you have experienced in the past year Carina, I know it has been quite a difficult year. You are in my thoughts and prayers, friend. Thank you for sharing your poignant journey with us here. It’s so good to be connected and know we’re not alone. XOXO

    1. Dear Allie, thank you so much for the words of support in this thoughtful and caring comment. I am so glad to have connected with you and to share our journeys in this way. I love reading your beautiful blog, and you are so right – difficult experiences in many ways help us grow and become who we are. Take care, my friend. Xoxo

  4. I am truly sorry for your loss. I can relate to it…I have suffered deep loss in my life. I also have lost both of my parents within the last 6 years. I am glad you had a chance to see him in the fall and that he managed to crack you up. It brought back memories of sitting at my father’s bedside while he was on hospice care. I remember him also making wisecracks and cracking me up.

    1. Thank you Priscilla for the kind words, I sincerely appreciate the comment. And I am sorry to hear that you’ve lost both your parents within the last six years – that must be tough. Take good care of yourself.

  5. A wonderful post. The last time I flew out to visit you, I also accidentally booked my return flight on a turboprop. It does give you a very different perspective, and perhaps a greater appreciation, for the distance traveled, and the beauty of this country.
    I can see in your post that the experience also gave you the opportunity to process our loss, and maybe even come to some sort of acceptance. It was good to have you here as we said goodbye to Dad.

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