Thursday, September 2, 2010

flying machines

I was outside with Jazz and Annie tonight when I heard a helicopter overhead. I looked up to watch it flash red and said a quiet prayer for those people far away. A helicopter at night means one thing around here: get to the hospital quick. I felt my anxiety rise up as I counted all the other planes in the sky tonight: five total. I never realize how many people are above me... Hundreds tonight, just over Jackson.

I know there's supposed to be a thrill in flying, some sort of freedom. I don't see it that way at all. Flying is freedom to a bird, they are built to do it, meant to. But to a human being flying is a prison or a coffin. You are either trapped in a machine you depend on to not die, or the machine fails and you do. Either way you're a codependent or a victim. Neither option seems like freedom to me. Both rattle me to the core. I'm a land-rail-or-sea kind of gal. The world makes more sense down here.

I'm so scared of being up in the air. I hate flying, am terrified of unnatural heights. I'll be fine up in a tree but a roof of the same size makes me jittery. I hold the record for the fastest descent down the Statue of Liberty. I was nine and nearly had a panic attack in that stupid crown. I remember looking out over the Atlantic and knowing I wasn't supposed to be that high. I looked up at all those planes and all I could think of was how good it feels to walk out of the terminal and start making your way to the car or family waiting to take you home. Every time I get off a plane I am amazed I survived. I wanted everyone up there to walk out of their terminals to smiling, warm, faces. I want everyone to be content.

I think this is why I was so drawn to homesteading and why I am trying to become a farmer. There is such good in knowing everyone is okay. There is no deeper sense of calm here than when everyone is eating, and watered, fenced and safe. Tending to animals isn't the same as landing a 747, but the idea of getting everyone through the day alive is. A lot of times I don't. Foxes snatch, rabbits get sick, raccoons learn to scale walls and steal polts. But when everyone is okay I beam and sigh. A little faux order does wonders for me. I'll take a sheep over a flying machine any day.

The dogs looked up with me for a while and then peed. They could care less who falls out of the sky tonight.


Blogger Harpy 101 said...


September 2, 2010 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger Tami said...

It always amazes me how you can take the most mundane subject, put a spin on it and make it sound so profound. I especially look for the bottom line, last line, moral of the story, story tellers summary of the story, final to speak. It either makes me think, hard, makes me smile or cracks me up. cracked me up. :-) Thanks for the levity!

September 2, 2010 at 9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can relate. I will fly, because sometimes it's the quickest way to get from point A to point B. But I'm with you; those flying pellets with wings don't make me feel very secure. But then again, I'm not much of a thrill-junkie. I will cross-country ski, but not downhill. I will get in my kayak, but don't really care for speed boats. I can't savor an experience when my heart is in my throat! Glad you are savoring terra firma.

September 2, 2010 at 9:54 PM  
Blogger Ivy Mae said...

I always feel this deep sense of security and well-being living out in the country...I love locking the doors at night (checking to make sure the dog's in) and seeing nothing but pitch black outside and knowing that we're all safe and snug. My husband, on the other hand, thinks that random serial killer scarecrows will leap through our windows with an entourage of wolves and kill us in our sleep. Cityslicker.

September 2, 2010 at 9:55 PM  
Blogger Erika said...

I'll be flying back to Seattle next Wednesday. I can fall asleep before the plane takes off and wake on the final decent. I've been flying regularly since I was little. I get more anxiety about not getting there on time and having a huge backup at the screening area.

Travel by train is a fine time though!

September 2, 2010 at 10:21 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Glad I'm not the only one who feels this way about flying. We're traveling by air later this month and I already have my Xanax prescription ready to go. Truly it's like being stuffed into a tin can and hurled through the air. Unnatural, indeed.

September 2, 2010 at 10:23 PM  
Blogger Floridagirl said...

I like the phrase 'faux order'...that seems to be my life at the moment. Glad yours is making you content.

September 2, 2010 at 10:37 PM  
Blogger Melissa "Conspiracy" Richardson said...

Dear Jenna,
I felt like commenting, along with all the other here you inspire.

I wanted you to know you've inspired yet another person in this world. On my quest for simplicity, recommended your book "Made from scratch" to me; I couldn't put it down. It's the first book I've read cover to cover in less than two days since Goosebumps Why I'm Afraid of Bees.

I noticed in your past post you seemed super down. This isn't a pitty reply. I think you need to know that people who are striving to do what you do truly want to know the ups and downs, the things that go through your mind and the dismay that can reach your heart. Its no different than that person living the million dollar life, dining at expensive restaurants who stop and tell themselves that rat race isn't for them.

Thank you, Jenna. Thank you for writing your books, for blogging your life and for existing as you. You are wonderful and inspirational. On a whim a friend and I bought knitting needles today and I'm working on a (badly done, likely ugly) scarf!

Thanks for your inspiration, and all the best to you. I may ask you about chicken keeping if I can petition changes in my rural Saskatchewan town.

Best regards,

September 2, 2010 at 11:06 PM  
Blogger Stargazer 2 said...


September 3, 2010 at 12:05 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

I've always felt that a plane ride was a glorified bus ride in the sky. If you've ever been on a Greyhound bus for more than eight hours, you know what I'm talking about.

The older I get the less I like flying, which is a major reason why my husband and I moved from Florida to Oregon- we wanted to be far away enough to not be dropped in on by family, but close enough to hop in the car and get there in a day or less. I'm really glad we moved- it's important to be closer to family, and I really love where we live.

But I'm with you on the heights thing, except I don't do trees either. Or Ferris wheels, or outside elevators with a glass wall. Did that in Atlanta once and thought I was gonna hurl my lunch. Don't do funiculars, either. You know- those cable cars that go up mountains actually strung up on cables?

It seems to get worse the older I get- I'm more of a chicken than I ever used to be. So tell me- is it just wisdom kicking in, or am I just turning into an old woman?

September 3, 2010 at 12:37 AM  
Blogger Moose Nuggets said...

Toddlers: the best excuse to NOT defy death in a man made metal object that a simple goose can take out of the sky.
Yeah.... Not into the whole flying thing. If we were meant to fly, we'd have the right anatomy for it.

September 3, 2010 at 1:05 AM  
Blogger daisy said...

I hear ya, Jenna. At least you'll fly if you have to though. I think my flying days are over. In fact, one of the reasons we want to relocate to NC, is so that we can be in closer driving/train-riding distance to more of the country we want to see.

September 3, 2010 at 7:54 AM  
Blogger Grant Wagner said...

So what do you think of us who dream of ultralights and fiberglass sail planes as much as raised beds and live poultry. I know there are a few of us.

Don't get me wrong though, COMMERCIAL flying is one of the great miseries of the modern world. To future generations, they are going to take a look at our modern Boeing M80s and compare them to the medieval rack, thumb screws, and iron maiden as a torture device.

September 3, 2010 at 9:22 AM  
Blogger ashley english said...

girl, i'm totally with you. i'm no fan of flying. never have been, and i've done it many, many times (try flying 6 months prego to REALLY bring on the anxiety!).

i have two secrets that get me through it, though. one is the flower remedy "mimulus." it's for "fear of known things" (as opposed to unknown, generalized fears), including flying. it totally, completely, unequivocally works. next time you have to fly, take it for a few weeks before hand. you'll be amazed.

barring that, drink a flute of champagne at the airport bar before boarding. or a gin & tonic. worked like a charm when i flew to paris and again later when i flew to london!!!

September 3, 2010 at 10:27 AM  
Blogger The Beers said...

I can relate to this post on many levels. As the daughter of a firefighter, sirens make me cringe. I know they mean danger... someone is injured or about to be, at the very least. And, I too prefer my feet firmly planted on the ground! We just aren't designed to travel at those heights and speeds! LOL

September 3, 2010 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Flartus said...

I'm a big fan of travel, and usually find flying a fun adventure (once you get past the security lines and grumpy people).

However, I totally get what you're saying. And I think the dogs have the best attitude of all.

September 3, 2010 at 12:47 PM  
Blogger Lorna Jean said...

I'm catching up with your posts and this one struck a chord with me. I used to love flying. And then I had children. Something about desperately wanting to be there to watch them grow up has created this irrational dislike of flying (and driving in cars for that matter!) But fly we must if we want to see our families on the other side of the globe. I am looking forward to the day when we can get there by car or train!

September 8, 2010 at 1:02 PM  

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