Saturday, December 23, 2006

Sun race

It's 6.00 a.m. at Philadelphia International, and I'm headed west to Chicago. Its still pitch dark outside. I think of the prospect of gaining an hour on touching down at O'Hare. It would certainly be a treat if all journeys would gift me an hour of time, if not more.

The plane races off the wet runway, into the overcast darkness. Small showers couldn't dampen the spirit of this steel bird. I settle down comfortably beside my window, carefully chosen so that I can observe my rival clearly, as I cruise above the clouds. This is a race with time itself. I had a head start and am bent on winning.

The bird gains altitude, and pierces on. Its still dark all around. An hour on, I can see a glint of light behind me. The great giant is peeping up from behind the horizon. At Philly he's already a hero. But he still has to catch me. I gain full speed and dodge through the wisps, careful not to slice them up with my wings. They are slowing down my rival after all.

With a final flourish I touch down at O'Hare eager to look back at him, and see how he's faring. I have beaten him by minutes, and he reaches down to shake hands. I smile back. He has to go now. He has a thousand more races to run.