I expected to feel a swooping, left-my-stomach-behind sort of sensation as we left the ground, but it wasn’t there. We were driving on the runway, and then we were floating like marshmallows to the top of hot cocoa, joining the clouds and leaving the trees far, far below.
It was a bit warm for May, and the tiny four-seater plane didn’t have air conditioning, but the breeze was nice - a fact our pilot friend noted at once as a mild turbulence threat. Justin bartered the Saturday joyride (airborne version) for some car repairs, as rental prices for these planes are not cheap, even if you can find a pilot to take you up. This friend needed the hours to log toward his next certification, though, so the deal was made and it suited everyone. Plus, we were all just excited to have some fun.
Justin acted as quasi-co-pilot, and I was given the role of “navigator,” which meant I turned on the navigation machine stuck to the back window and got the good views.
And, boy, were they good views.
We flew to Chattanooga and back from the Nashville area, and the weather was a bit sketchy in certain areas. We were forced downward by angry clouds at one point, and could see rain falling in sheets onto the countryside below from about a mile away. On the way back, though, the peaks of the mountains pushed up into our comfort zone, sending us further skyward.
I had never really noticed how bright it is when sunlight glints off of rippling water until I caught something in the “tail of my eye” glittering up from the ground far away. Boats were making long, cone-shaped jets trail behind them as their drivers bumped the waves and we bumped the clouds.
More than anything, we realized what a beautiful state we live in. Tennessee couldn’t be kinder to us, and we really couldn’t have cooler or more generous friends.