Today was the first clear, sunny day we have seen in a while.
Today was my weekly trip to Westport. I got on the company plane (a twin propeller engine King Air) at 6:45. We lifted off in to the crisp, clear and cold morning air by 7:00am. Normally our route would take us “over the top”, directly over the Olympics, flying just over and next to Mt. Olympus at 10,000ft and then down and on to Hoquiam. Today we went around the Olympics. First flying East, then South over Shelton before turning West to Hoquiam, skirting the Olympics the whole way.
Today was a full moon day. Before leaving, as I drove to the airport I could see the full moon, not long for this day dropping to the horizon. With the clear air and sky, and the full moon, I knew this would be a good flight.
As we flew the sun was just coming up. Though I never saw its golden orb, I witnessed the sun announcing its coming by painting the entire skyline red, orange and yellow. The cascades silhouetted in black before it. As we flew South Mt. Rainier grew larger and larger, as the sun continued its lightshow, silhouetting it too with a gorgeous pastel of fire. Rainier was not alone in the sky this morning, further in the distance Mt. Adams and the now truncated Mt. St. Helens also stood guardian in the fiery sky, and Mt. Hood a small tip in the far distance.
As we flew I continually looked west, keeping track of the progress of the moon. Its yellow orb peeking in slivers between cloud layers in the distance. Slowly falling, turning from yellow in shades to orange. Peeking in and out until at last look, all that was left was a small bit of the top, a dull distant orange, which cloud and sky had warped into a triangular shape.
Today was a longer day in Westport. Our usual departure of 3-3:45 was postponed until 4:15. As we made the 40min drive to Hoquiam (where the plane lands, WP runway is not long enough) I again never did see the golden orb of the sun, but witnessed once again its majesty, as it fell into the Pacific Ocean. Much angrier this time having to leave the day behind, it painted the sky in a burning red and orange blaze much richer and deeper than it had in its quiet morning ascent.
By the time we were in the air the sun was long gone, and only the hot orange glow of its passing, spread across the Pacific Ocean remained. In short order, that too was gone, swallowed by the night.
Looking to the east, the Moon which I had seen fall in the morning, had already risen high in the east. Full, large and bright. As we flew – this time “over the top” the light of the moon reflecting off the snow covered Olympic mountains lit the night as if it were dawn. Overpowering its much smaller and dimmer cousins, I occasionally saw a star which managed to force itself through the brightness of the moon lit night sky.
As we passed Mt. Olympus heading North, a bit of turbulence announced to me that we were on our descent, flying over the Elwha valley where the air rushing over the top of the Olympics met the air coming up the valley from the Ocean, creating the bouncing turbulence announcing to me our location.
Below the lights of Port Angeles, the lights of home, beckoned. To the North, across the Strait the larger city of Victoria shone brightly, illuminating a large stretch of the coastline of Vancouver island. Beyond that, though much further away, almost as brightly shone the lights of Vancouver. And beyond that………faintly, the lights of Whistler Mountain lighting up the snow for the night skiers.
Above it all, the orb of the Moon shone brightly, reflecting large swaths of light on the waters of the Strait. Between my eye, and the moon, it seemed to light up only the path between itself and Port Angeles, lighting my way home. The shimmering, dancing of the light from the moon on the waters, with the night lights of the city below was a sight that only could be captured in its fullest by the camera of my mind’s eye.
Flying just past, and over my house, though I could not see its lights because of trees, I knew exactly where it was. Looking down I knew that inside were a wife, and two children, probably already eating because I was late. Three people who mean everything in this world to me. Safe, warm, happy and fed. I would soon join them, bringing my day at work to a close.
From 10,000 feet I watched the sun rise and the moon fall as day dawned. From 10,000 feet I watched the sun fall, and the moon rise as day ended. In all the glory and majesty nature has to offer. And I was blessed to be there to see it. And I thank God for this Earth he created, and all the blessings he had given me, and for the family that I love.
It was ……. a good day.