11 Meitheamh 2009.
MY FLIGHT FOR IRISH FREEDOM.
There are many things I do not understand. Flying is one of them. That’s not strictly true. I sort of a way understand birds flying. And insects. They are made to fly. They have wings. So if they beat their wings or flap them or do whatever it is that they do to get airborne there is some sort of logic in that. There is even a logic to angels flying. If you believe in angels. Or fairies. If you believe in fairies.
I also have some sort of an understanding about wind and air currents and such like. Nothing too profound or scientific but enough to appreciate that if you have a kite or even a glider that you can ride the warm thermals with it or in it. Sort of a way. There is some sort of logic in that as well. Even some seeds, like sycamore or dandelions, can do it. Though I must confess that I have never been in a glider and I’m not very successful with kites. But that’s not the point.
The point is that there is no logic whatsoever, as far as I can figure out, in planes flying. Think of it? A long metal tube with ‘wings’ sticking out either side – wings which don’t flap or beat – launched skywards and ‘flying’ from one place to another. A long metal tube filled with people. Kinda comic book stuff.
Only it’s for real. And nowadays many of us, excepting for isolated tribes of nomadic or jungle dwelling or island bound isolated peoples, take it for granted.
Except this blog. Which is not to say I dislike flying. Au contraire. I don’t mind flying. I just don’t understand it.
This blog flies a good wee bit. Well I don’t really fly. Not like a bird or an insect. Or even a fairy. Or an angel. At least not yet.
But you know what I mean.
I get into planes and strap myself in and the engines start and the plane flings itself skywards and some time later we lunge earthwards again and after a few scary minutes our long metal tube screeches and shudders to a halt on the ground and we all get out and go about our business as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
Even though it's not.
This blog is flying at the minute. At 33022 feet according to the monitor before me. That’s 33022 feet up in the air. At 326 miles per hour. There are 1230 miles to our destination. Which is New York. And we are 2080 from where we started. Which is Belfast. And we will do three days political business and be back again, God willing, in the emerald island before anyone misses us. Our flight for Irish freedom.
It’s amazing. Air travel allows us to cross the globe in double quick time. To meet friends and allies in the diaspora. To build contacts and alliances.
And I don’t understand it.
But then who does? Maybe Richard McAuley? Or maybe not?
Maybe if I asked him he would give me some text book explanation. Or maybe he would just make something up. But he wouldn’t fool me.
Flying? There is no logic to it.
I don’t care what Richard might say. It’s just not logical.