Jul 15, 2015

The Wind Made it Possible




This is a long, around the bend, under the bridge, over the wall way to a book recommendation, but here goes. 

Yesterday my phone got several text messages with the SEVERE WEATHER WARNINGS from the WSB.TV weather app.  Thunder storms were coming from the north and the Atlanta metro area was going to be impacted, winds, hail, lots of rain, so be ready.  I get warnings for Atlanta, Brooklyn, Rancho Mission Viejo and the area in Florida where Ana and Parker live. 

Maddie is afraid of any and all noise related to thunder and storms, so I let her and Morgan both know that a storm was coming. Maddie usually hides under the bed, sometimes she wants to be reassured and will glue herself to my body. When she is afraid, her small Corgi frame shivers sand shakes, her eyes speak fear. 

About 8pm I was downstairs, I heard the winds arrive. 

We have huge pine trees in the back and they were swaying and dancing, as the wind howled in the area.  It must of been 20 MPH plus yesterday, it was loud, especially loud because the wind came in advance of the rain.  

I listened, I paid attention, I was not scared. I checked in with Maddie and Morgan and then smiled as I recalled the book I am currently reading, THE WRIGHT BROTHERS, by Dave McCullough.  On page 40, the author writes,

"Wind was the essential, the brothers had already come to appreciate. And clearly, if ever they were to succeed with what they had sed their minds to, they mush learn and from experience the ways of the wind."

This book is wonderful, encouraging, thought provoking, detailed, and not too technical when it comes to all things flight. The story, the history, the truth of what the brothers did and did not do, the lack of interest from the press, the scientific community, the US government and the US army, McCullough does a great job of providing details and story. 

After reading this book I would love to step on the field in Le Mans, France where on a Saturday, the 8th of August in 1908, Wilbur finally showed the world the "miracle he and his bother had created on their own and in less than two minutes, Wilbur, demonstrated for all who were present and to an extent no one yet had anywhere on earth, that a new age had begun." 

And to get to that incredible day in history, the brothers had to know, study, gauge, appreciate and rely on and challenge the wind.  The winds of the Outer Banks in North Carolina, a remote spot we all know from the history books: Kitty Hawk.  

I've always been a fan of wind, it's differing personalities, it's tempos. I've observed a few storms over the course of my life, where the winds were dangerous.  

In Barstow, I was stranded in the family station wagon, with my Grandparents from Panama, on Barstow Road, in the middle of a 60 MPH wind and sand storm, visibility less than 5 to 10 feet. Some part of the engine was filled with sand, the car stalled. A passerby helped move the car to the side of the road and gave us all a ride home.  

Once I was in a sailboat (a big one) on the 4th of July on Lake Lanier outside of Atlanta, and a sudden and violent wind storm surprised most on the lake, I was scared. I remember seeing the wind come across the vast surface of the lake, the motion of the water's surface like what you see as special effects in a movie.  And only because the person sailing the boat knew what he was doing, he managed to steer the boat head on into the win and save us from toppling over.  The gusts that day could have lifted small children in the air, I am not exaggerating. 

One of the most beautiful storms, at Compass Point in the Bahamas. It was the type of weather event where the skies were battleship gray, the air cooled and it was church pew quiet.  We could see the storm far off in the distance and you knew in your heart it was making a straight line for shore.  That particular storm became a poem where I described the winds, " a thousand sisters strong. "  That afternoon pool furniture ended up in the bottom of the pool, other than that we were all safe. 

The Wright Brothers needed wind, not too much, not too little and wide open spaces, and Kitty Hawk was perfect.  The trials and experiments as they called them were numerous and over a 3 year period.  A motor did not come into the design for some years. 

For them the beginning was wind and reason, wind and passion, and design, and study. They had keen attention to detail, perseverance, faith, and the bond and respect of two amazing siblings and a supportive family.  

The book is detailed and presents the brothers up close and personal. I read the pages as a participant and observer of this amazing journey. I felt missile cheering them on ! McCullough makes you feel like you are there with the brothers and the rest of the world realizing this amazing "new age." 

Everyone should read this book. 

I hope someone in Hollywood options the rights and makes a movie. There is so much story, the turn of the century, Dayton Ohio, all that was going on, inventions, politics, France, Paris, France.  There is also the detractors, academic types, engineers, inventors, the press, many who did not believe that flight was possible. 

At least not the flight that Orville and Wilbur imagined.  Bravo Bravo Bravo ! ! 

 

Wilber Wright 1902- Powered by the wind ! !