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My body has left this earth many times before and taken my soul along for the ride.
I've been slowly and steadily pressed back into my seat,
and then thrown forward into my harnass coming out of afterburner,
forced to reset the seat lock because of it.
I've weighed nearly 1000 pounds for ten or more seconds,
only to weigh nothing in the next instant,
then to be pulled right back into myself to weigh that much again,
updside down, staring at treetops
only 50 feet over my head below
while the clouds sped by at 480 miles per hour
under my feet above,
passing another two bodies and souls travelling in their
fast-moving protective shell of aerial combat
at a passing speed nearly twice the speed of sound,
canopy to canopy, turning into them to keep them in sight -
perchance to get into position to call out in simulation,
"fox 2" or "guns, guns, guns" before they do
and not have to call out
"Break left, flares, flares, jink, jink, jink!" -
all while keeping my head on a swivel;
paying attention to three radios, the radar,
our location in relationship to landmarks
(even when there are none),
on board navigation aids,
how much gas is left,
where everyone else was,
and looking out for logging cables and powerlines that someone
might have installed without telling anybody,
scared to death at times, feeling every nerve in my body on fire,
but alive like I never have again since those days
when my body left this earth many times, taking my soul along for the ride.

* "fox 2" is code for heat-seeking missles, which are decoyed through use of "flares." A "jink" is a last ditch maneuver to avoid the impact of a missle or bullets. The above is all true (I've actually done these things) - but never in actual combat - just practice (thank goodness!) - and a long time ago.

Created: Nov 28, 2010


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