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Over The Edge



Over the Edge

The alarm chirps, eyes open, the day starts.
Pilots meet and breakfast hastily eaten.
Wind and weather are discussed and a slope chosen.
With Thermoses filled and trucks loaded, it's off to the hill.

Into the valley they travel, then a turn up a steep road.
The trucks climb with swiftness and ease.
From the valley floor, morning fog climbs out of hiding.
Questions are asked then answered advice is given and noted.
The summit is breached, the trucks are parked and planes are readied.

The morning brightens, cool and calm
Hand launches are tossed, sink, and then quickly land.
Pilots quietly discuss an alternate site.
Voices shout, kids chasing, and cameras click
A hawk glides near, and then dives away.

Wind out of the west, and building.
Lift, light, but steadily growing.
A gentle toss, fragile wings dip, and accept the strain of flight.
Faces smile and beam, as altitude is gained.
Everything with the world is all right.

Altitude quickly gained, is suddenly lost.
Planes begin to sink below the horizon.
Thoughts of making it to the top again, disappear, as the lift dies.
Down, deeper in to the abyss the plane floats.
Twisting, turning and searching for the elusive lift, all the while shrinking.

Lost for eternity or just eaten by trees?
The descent begins, legs are strong and breath is sound, easy going.
Where the slope the steepest, the bush the thickest, the plane is rescued.
With shins bleeding, thin air the ascent begins.
A rest stop, legs burning, breaths gasping, push on.
Time passes, climbing endless, the summit is sighted, then breached.

Sunnier, warmer, breezier, fore noon
Lift is back but sketchy.
Cooling coffee is sipped and snacks eaten.
Pilots chatter as electrics whine around.
Heads turn, eyes strain, faces smile
Swans gracefully and silently pass overhead.

Clouding, warm windy afternoon
Lift strong and settled.
Pilots hoot and holler
Wings locked in combat flail about
Binoculars out, necks strained, standing in awe,
as cranes noisily thermal by.

Darkening, cooling fore eve.
Lift strong and stable as Ninjas gracefully ply the skies,
zooming, turning, spinning in effortless flight.
Geese loud and shrill and an ever-changing V quickly pass.
Batteries are running low.

Dark, cold, calm, night.
A silent ride to dinner, still in awe
Pilots eat, brag and joke.
Then back to the room, charge batteries, and make repairs,
Check morning weather, and then retire for the night.

Ken Stewart


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