When All Else Fails, Ask Yourself, “Is the Plane Still Flying?”

I got an email yesterday from Johnny, with some good advice. He didn’t say it, but I think he was responding to my most recent blog posts. They have not been happy-chappy, exclamatory or even particularly positive. I have not been a champion of recovery lately. I have had a case of the January blues.

Bush Pilots and Recovery

He told me to ask myself, when I am feeling anxious or out of sorts, “Is the plane still flying?” I am a visual thinker, so I love this mental image. Having spent eight years on a small island in The Bahamas, I can relate to this bush pilot’s credo. The controls might be smoking; the captain a little hung over; the landing strip a patch of beaten sand, running end to end on a tiny, coral promontory. A storm may have blown in, causing us to fly closer and closer to the Exuma Sound to get a visual. But the plane is still flying.

I start looking around at the rivets that hold the plane together. The aircraft is at least 30 years old, well worn and patched together with tarnished, old parts. I am being thrown around in the seat and the pilot says, “It’s all good mon’, tighten your belt so you don’t hit your head on the roof…” He smiles with all his teeth. I am thinking, landing in open water is not an option – there’s no one around for miles and the sharks… But the plane is still flying.

And then, tilting and bucking like something alive, the plane bumps in for a landing, all the way to the edge of the runway. Right where the ocean laps the shore. There are crashed planes rusting in the mangroves, but I am alive. And the plane was still flying, even when I was tossed like loose baggage by force majeure. Even when I had no control of the outcome.

It’s all good mon’…

I woke up this morning feeling like myself. Kim says there is no shame in a “season of taking something to soften the edges.” But I really don’t want to go there. These bouts of the blues are like a storm in the tropics.  Black, even a little frightening, but short lived…

Today I’m not drinking because THE PLANE IS STILL FLYING.

How come you’re not drinking?