We do love nature, and nature photography. But we also photograph other things - like airplanes. There is something about the sound of an engine warming up, the sight of a propeller flashing in the sun, and the rush you get as the plane leaves the ground. The poem High Flight speaks to the joy every pilot feels as he or she rises to meet the clouds. High Flight was written by Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee, of the No 412 squadron, RCAF, just a few short months before he died in December of 1941. He penned it on the back of a letter to his mother. Starting with "Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth..." it ends with lines immortalized by Ronald Reagan on January 28, 1986, speaking of those who lifted off that morning for what would be their last flight - aboard the space shuttle Challenger:
"Oh I Have Slipped
The Surly Bonds of Earth...
Put Out My Hand
And touched the Face of God."
There are a number of air shows this summer, most with displays of antique or historic aircraft. Attractions may include air races, skydiving, wing walking, aviation record attempts, hover craft, and new technology demonstrations. The largest gathering of aircraft enthusiasts is in Oshkosh, Wisconsin each July; this year the 23rd-29th. But cities and towns across the country hold events, as well. The mid-Michigan community of Alma is holding an air show August 25-26 of this year. A free event, it will offer wing walkers, fly-bys, static displays of military and vintage aircraft, and more. There will be food vendors available on the grounds. If you're in the area this summer, drop on by Gratiot Community Airport. Hours each day are 9 a.m-6 p.m. (The airport lies between Alger Road and Ely Highway, on Seaman Road.)