Subterraneans and the Summer at 10,000 Feet

This is a Cessna 152 I rented sometimes from an FBO in Shawnee, Oklahoma. This image was made after I landed following a fantastic tour of the Dallas-Fort Worth airport and Fort Worth Air Traffic Control Center in the fall of 1994.
This is a Cessna 152 I rented sometimes from an FBO in Shawnee, Oklahoma. This image was made after I landed following a fantastic tour of the Dallas-Fort Worth airport and Fort Worth Air Traffic Control Center in the fall of 1994.

I am counting on most of my fans to be like-minded in the way I let music carry me away. For example, if I listen to “Crystal Baller” by Third Eye Blind, it takes me back to my first vacation with Abby in 2003. If I listen to “Mercy Street” by Peter Gabriel, it takes me back to the first weeks I spent with Kathy Sterbenc in 1986. If I was listening to something a lot during a season, that song takes me back to it.

Tonight my iTunes shuffled to “Subterraneans,” one of the three movements of the “Low” symphony by Philip Glass, and I was instantly taken back to one particular season, the summer of 1993. I was logging a lot of Cessna hours back then. The airplane I rented most was a Cessna 150, and it was cheap enough that I could sometimes fly a couple of times a week.

It was on one of those days that I wanted to play around with the airplane and my experiences. That hot summer day in 1993 I decided to climb that little airplane to 10,000 feet. It took quite a bit of patience. Unlike airliners, by the time you get a Cessna 150 to 10,000 feet, it’s 108 horsepower engine is struggling to climb 100 feet per minute. By the time I finally got there, it was an absolute pleasure to feel the cold rush into the cabin through those infamous Cessna “beer can” vents at 40 degrees cooler than it was when I left the summer-hot tarmac.

I excitedly noted in my log book, “10k feet!”

Another piece of music that brings back that summer with intense longing is Grieg’s Piano Concerto In A, Op. 16 – 2. Adagio. I can listen to either of these pieces of music and close my eyes and be there again, alone in that tiny airplane in that big sky, just flying for no other reason than to be flying.

I made this image from the Dallas-Fort Worth central control tower on our air traffic control tour day in September 1994.
I made this image from the Dallas-Fort Worth central control tower on our air traffic control tour day in September 1994.
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1 Comment

  1. Count me as “like-minded”, in that I do let music carry me away (not as much as I used to, though). Though it seems our tastes in music differ greatly, I can appreciate tastes that aren’t the same as my own. :-)

    “If I was listening to something a lot during a season, that song takes me back to it.”

    This certainly rings true for me.

    My loneliest Christmas ever was in 1992, when I stayed on campus in Springfield, Mo., and worked through the holidays. Of 1,100 students at my college, only a couple of dozen stayed in town — and I never saw them. One of my part time jobs was janitor at a local church. And if you’ve ever been in a church all by yourself for hours at a time, it can be a little spooky.

    For some reason, the album that takes me back to that holiday season is “Pray Naked” by the obscure group 77s (“Seventy-Sevens” on some albums). I didn’t actually pray in the nude during that time, but any time I hear any song from that record, I instantly feel the feelings from that Christmas, and it’s powerful how vivid the memories can be.

    Too long? Maybe I should expand on this in my own blog. :-)

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