A wonderland of gifts


Learning from Elders

commentaryHazel Delacruz1 Comment

Lately, I’m been feeling stuck in a rut and I decided to do something about it, like try something new and exciting. After researching options, I settled on going for a glider ride. That’s right, going up in something that is like a small 2 passenger airplane except this plane has no engine.

It turns out there’s a glider center an hour drive east of where I live, not far from a town called Zebulon (I love that name) at an airport called Crooked Creek. This place is out in the middle of nowhere. The last turn is on a gravel road that takes you so close to small country homes that it feels like you’re trespassing through people’s backyards. I never saw the crooked creek, but I can tell you that the runway is a crooked, bumpy, uneven grass field. And The glider clubhouse is nothing more than an old trailer. As I walked from my car to the trailer, I noticed the glider parked at the end of the runway. I also saw the airplane that is used to tow the glider up into the air. The towing airplane looks like it’s from World War II. I started wondering if I was making a big mistake. Maybe my life was just fine the way it was and it didn’t need any new excitement. However, before I could change my mind, Steve, one of the club members, came out to meet me. He explained how this glider thing worked. After the explanation, I noticed a very old man now standing next to the glider. I whispered to Steve ”who is that?”.  He said “he’s the instructor”. I again started reconsidering, but something inside me told me it would be fine.

Steve and I walked up to Bob who opened the glider cockpit and explained some basics about the craft. Before I knew it, I was sitting in the glider, they connected the rope from the tow plane to the glider and off we went. As the glider rolled down the grass field, we were bumping around so much I was praying the thing wouldn’t fall apart. Soon, we were airborne, being pulled up by the airplane. Once we reached 3000 feet, Bob pulled a lever and the rope connecting us to the tow plane detached. Instantly, all my fears went away and I was elated by turning and sailing through the air. It felt so new and wonderful. And that eighty-year-old man maneuvered the aircraft with incredible dexterity. We soared the sky like a hawk for about twenty minutes before Bob brought the craft to a smooth landing.

On my drive home, I felt so inspired.  I reminded myself how important it is to be challenged and try something new. Then my thoughts turned to Bob. What an amazing person. Here is this guy in his early eighties teaching people how to fly gliders. Still living life to the fullest. This totally disrupts the idea that as I age, I need to do safer, calmer activities. I feel double blessed by this experience. In addition to living an exciting experience to inspire me, I got a piece of wisdom. I realize now that instead of dreading getting old and focusing on the negative, I can keep looking at life as an on-going adventure that can surprise me over and over again. I just need to keep an open mind and an open heart.