April 16, 2008
So there we stood, the only two humans in sight. We were perched on the very end of a long dock in the early morning hours, staring out to nothing but water and little green isles. My gaze drifted to the sky as I searched for the tiny float plane that was to snag me off the island and bring me to Seattle, from where I’d then fly to Los Angeles. I didn’t need to bother looking up, since any engine sound would shred the silence. But look up I did, again and again, wondering when the plane might finally arrive. And wondering why I would ever want to leave this paradise.
As my ride finally appeared out of the clouds Charles and I couldn’t avoid joking in goofy accents, “de plane! de plane!” And then de plane made a landing on de still water, much as a cormorant comes in for one: gentle… watch it… whoooaaa, lower, lower… splash… whoosh… glide…
De plane was even smaller than I had imagined, and as Charles and I said goodbye I could tell that we were both silently making rapid assessments of the odds that this flying coat closet would deliver me safely. I climbed the ladder, squeezed myself into the seat and the ear plugs into my ears. Small plane, very loud engine.
As I’ve gloated about over and over again in these pixels, the view flying across the San Juans is just incredible. Whatever quiet terror I feel about hurtling myself through the sky in something with a door slightly flimsier than that of an airline lavatory and a window made of thin plastic that boasts a ventilation hole I can stick three fingers through, well, that [rational] fear disappears when I look out the window. Small plane, fantastic in-flight movie.