I FIND ONE OF THE MOST INDISPENSABLE ITEMS on the face of the earth is the humble pen. I just never know when a gem of inspiration or a great story will come across my bow. Then I write it down, even a few words to prompt my memory and to engage my subconscious mind.
About a year ago, as I was opening a risk assessment workshop I was facilitating, one of the marine safety boffins there shared a helicopter story. He’d apparently been involved in the salvage operation where a ship was stranded off the coast, and he and his team had been ferried back and forth on a chopper.
One of these times the chopper hit some ‘dirty air’ and without any warning it spun a full 360 degrees in mid-flight before lurching head-long into a dive toward the water. The pilot recovered the situation about 15 metres from the surface of the water.
He remarked that what he found was the most fascinating thing in reflection was the range of different responses from the people on the helicopter that day. They experienced everything from sheer panic to exhilarated excitement—a whole range of responses, probably due to varying experience with helicopter flight, and perhaps it was also a reflection of individual personality to some extent.
The helicopter spin is quite a gorgeous image for the things that occur to us in life, is it not? We never really know when we’ll be affected by ‘dirty air’ or turbulence. And we’ll also never quite be able to predict how we’ll deal with each situation.
We can only hope that our responses to the situations of life will be acceptable and appropriate. And we can only hope that as we grow and mature our responses will be less marginal and more resilient with each passing year.
Watch for ‘dirty air,’ expect it when you least expect it and try to smile through it.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.