Wednesday, 27 October 2010
We flew home in a storm on Sunday night. The lightning lit up the black clouds that enveloped the plane and streaked in bolts across the sky. I watched in awe as we flew, the storm getting angry around us, and weirdly silent. Perhaps we were flying too fast to hear it, but there was none of the crashing thunder that you'd expect with a tropical storm. Just light and the air.
In the cabin those who were reading or sleeping carried on blithely. And my children watched excitedly as they saw bolt after bolt split the sky. But I felt increasingly anxious and had the first sensation of fear I've ever felt when flying. Watching their faces flash with the fury from the sky, the reality of being so far above the ground and so very very vulnerable hit me. I know logically that electrical storms are not an issue for modern planes, in fact I've studied why they're not, and yet as we plummeted with turbulence my brain refused to listen to logic.
I strapped them in tightly and held onto the Possum on my lap as a lump rose in my throat as I thought about them. Willed myself to listen for the reassuring sounds of the ailerons extending and the landing gear deploying, feeling the cross wind envelop the plane as we rocked. We circled high over the city as the clouds cleared, and the reassuring lights twinkling up at me calmed my heart rate, and the big yellow moon beyond overlooking all.
I have never felt so grateful to land before. So happy to walk out onto the tarmac and feel the warm humid breeze of an approaching storm as it lifted my hair and whispered against my neck. There was something in the air that night, and it frightened me. I am not used to being frightened.