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What is There to Fear?

Updated: Feb 28, 2021

...All is okay right now, but this is crazy. Nuts. I am in the middle of the Labrador Sea. Beside me is a door that, on the ground, you open and step out. On the ground, I could step out and pound any ice off the wings. On the ground, it would be just a short step. The wing is right there. Just a few feet away. I could touch the wing root with my hand if I could open the door. Here, over the Labrador Sea, that step to the wing is three hundred fifty miles and three hours away.

The ice is sublimating and should burn all the way off, boosting my confidence the flight won’t end in a water landing. But what if I fly through clouds again, and the ice resumes its builds up? What if an oil pump or some other critical engine part fails behind that single propeller? I can’t pull over, stop, and step out. I’d have to glide down and land in the drink. Soon after that, I would likely be dead.

Lots of worries. But exactly what do I fear? Nature and mechanical parts do not bear animosity. The sea is never angry. The sky is never brooding. The Cardinal has no feelings about flying over water. I have taken on this trip without coercion. I well know the risks to life.

I have no conflict with the airplane or the sky. It is not man against nature. Or man against machine. Any ill feeling I have, any fear, is man against self. And maybe, after one burrows down, that’s the way it always is. Sure, there are outside factors here. But there is no external enemy or foe. Here, surrounded by trackless miles of air and water, my war with fear lives within my own small mind and body.

My only question is how I will be in relationship to that which is. That might be true when extended to people too. Man against man? I cannot change my father. Once, I asked him to quit drinking. “Can you do it for me, Dad?” He couldn’t answer. He only stared at me. I knew he wanted to say yes but knew it would be a lie. I couldn’t change him then, and I can’t now. All I can do is make choices in how I will relate to him—as he is. My concern is how I will be in my relationship to him: man versus self...

Would you like more? Russ Roberts' memoir is available on Amazon. When you're finished reading the book, please consider leaving a review on Amazon. Reviews really help spread the word.

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