You are at cruising altitude.
The westering sun is pink on the disc.
Your eye flicks the gauges. The engines are contented.
Another day—another dollar.
You look down at your hands on the wheel.
They are veined and hard and brown.
Tonight you notice they look a little old.
And, by George, they are old. But how can this be?
Only yesterday you were in flying school.
Time is a thief. You have been robbed.
And what have you to show for it?
A pilot—twenty years a pilot—a senior pilot.
But what of it—just a pilot.
Then the voice of the stewardess breaks in on your reverie.
The trip is running full—eighty-four passengers
Can she begin to serve dinner to the passengers?
The passengers—oh yes, the passengers.
You noticed the line of them coming aboard—
the businessmen, the young mothers
with the children in tow, the old couple,
the two priests, the four dogfaces.
A thousand times you have watched them
file aboard and a thousand times disembark.
They always seem a little gayer after the landing
than before the take-off. Beyond doubt
they are always somewhat apprehensive aloft.
But why do they continuously come up here
in the dark sky despite their apprehension?
You have often wondered about that.
You look down at your hands again
and suddenly it comes to you.
They come because they trust you—
you the pilot. They turn over their lives
and their loved ones and their hopes and dreams
to you for safekeeping.
To be a pilot means to be one of the trusted.
They pray in the storm
that you are skillful and strong and wise.
To be a pilot is to hold life in your hands—
to be worthy of faith.
No, you have not been robbed.
You aren’t "just a pilot." There is no such thing
as "just a pilot." Your job is a trust.
The years have been a trust.
You have been one of the trusted.
Who could be more?
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Jiang D 蔣世基 says:
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September 1st, 2010
- Captain Morgan
- January 2009
- Eimar Haus
- living in desert
- I am:
- travelling with my Hasselblad
- better in time