Just as the Boeing 767 began its gradual descent to the cerulean blue sea surrounding Oahu, a dozen babies began to scream, first just one and then all the others taking up the squalling chorus. They had been peaceful little travelers up until then, but the descent triggered a group howl. Then, as soon as we were about 500 feet above the ground, on final approach to the runway, they all stopped and peace reigned once again.
Flying to the islands is a bit of a miraculous undertaking for those of us who do not have any aeronautical skills. Setting off from the San Jose airport, you arc and circle to the west and then leap once and for all into the blue beyond. It feels like leaping off a high dive when you're a kid, but you don't land for another five hours or more. You're flying at oh, 400 mph or so, I guess, and Hawaii is only half way across the vast blue expanse of water, at best. It's the biggest thing there is on our earth, the Pacific Ocean is. There's a lot we still don't know about it, but that's an odd statement, isn't it. How do you know how much you don't know? How do you know how big an ocean is unless you fly over it and never get to the other side of it? You can tell me numbers all day long about depth, temperature, volume and the like, but the damned thing is just huge and that's all there is to that. It is and you feel like a mote next to it.
Perhaps the babies knew collectively that what we had just accomplished was so stunning that they could only scream in amazement. I'd like to think so. They were like primitive tribespeople dancing around in front of the obelisk in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The pilot and his crew who took on the task did a fine job and we landed safely, ready to have ourselves a nice Hawaiian holiday for the next two weeks. The crew didn't pay much attention to the fact that 200 people had waddled into their big white bird and waddled out again after five hours, that they'd shot through the heavens in search of a cluster of small islands in the middle of the biggest ocean in the known universe. But I did, and I am in awe.
Causes Christine Bottaro Supports
The Nature Conservancy, California State Parks, The United Way