The wine tastes like honey and pears. Gulls cry overhead. The dock moves with the currents of nearby float planes, their motors cranking up and then the slow lift.
Vincent and I dip bread into spinach and artichoke dip. My hands sweat. I change into my swimsuit in the bathroom, slug down wine, secretly, trying to erase the nerves.
I am about to fly in this six seater, a Beaver, left over from wars not my own. It’s piloted by a young Canadian guy with a quick smile and an easy presence. He’s free of nerves–like he is getting us a cup of coffee, rather than flying us over forests.
Inside the plane, it’s all old blue leather. Or plastic. I can’t remember the difference. Now or then. My mind is wrapping itself around thoughts of regret–I wish I would have published my really good manuscript. I wish I would have had children–either biologically or adopted. It’s a shame I have to die in this float plane.
But, we don’t die. We soar up above the world. We hover 900 feet above the land below. I am in suspended disbelief. I love it. I don’t think while we fly. I only react. I become animal, not human.
And, we fly into a small island, Maquinna Provincial Park. Taylor, our pilot, opens the door, jumps out, lands on the dock, spins the line around a cleat and pulls us into complete safety. Whales swim below us. Sharks. Seals. Starfish plucker to the sides of boats.
British Columbia continues to be a land of wild wilderness. Trees and more trees. Greens and green and brown and blue. The air isn’t air, but cold breath in my throat. Feels heavy with oxygen.
We walk along a boardwalk, pierced with the names of donors and the occasional “Lisa will you marry me?” until we crack our feet through rocks into hot springs, soak our bodies in the super hot. A refuge. Relax. Jokes and more bread.
And, then, we find our way back, thirsty, full of wine, no water, to the plane. Torino Air. Wait to see another pilot take her passengers up and out of the island and then we see our plane dodge back into the water, to come scoop us up. Our thirst disappears. As if the plane can replace our salt tongued mouths with wind and gust and float.
It is a memory that I want to keep at the front of my mind. Some passive act of bravery. All we did was buy tickets, but it felt like more than that. It felt like we trusted the laws of physics enough to lift us upwards. To some high up, far away atmosphere. Up above the sounds of human voices. Just under the clouds. A place light with possibility.