As some of you already know, one of my favorite places to observe birds is the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. This shot was taken last fall as geese touched down around me in what seemed a snowstorm of feathers and honks. It was a wonderful half hour or so that I can still hear when senses are willing.
When reviewing photos of that day, I am reminded of another landing twenty or so years ago. While returning to Seattle from California, on a large jet for which I have no number or name, my seat mate and I nervously stretched the limits of our collective dark humor. It was winter and our pilot was attempting to land in a harsh storm, which carried heavy wind gusts and enough lightening bolts to rival a Fourth of July celebration designed by Zeus. As we laughed and kidded about our impending demise the plane rocked and rolled through the sky, as if in sync with a hard rocking tune from the sixties. The lightening flashing about our wings fit right in with the theme. We circled the airport for a LONG time, not able to land because of the line up of rockers ahead of us.
When we finally began our decent, the plane (read pilot) defied odds by keeping the tilting to more of a crowd wave; wing to wing. Back and forth we drifted, tipping wings and bumping up and down. Every few seconds the lightening would flash allowing us to see our speeding "progress". One final lightening flash outside our window and we were bouncing and bucking our way down the runway. Just as we were completing our final few bounces, the female Attendant announced; "Ladies and Gentlemen, we are landing...landing...landing...in Seattle and we want to thank you for joining us on this exciting ride." Following a rousing round of applause from the passengers we departed, many stopping to vigorously shake the hand of the pilot.
Humor. It really can make all the difference. Beyond being grateful for our safe arrival that night, to this day, I remain equally grateful that serendipity placed the right fellow beside me for the ride. Someone else who saw the humor in their fear. As we headed our separate ways following our departure, we were both still laughing. Each time I look at this photo, along with the wings and honks, I hear "we are landing, landing, landing..."