I’ve written here before about the airplanes that fly over Columbia. I observe them as I sit on my deck on the back (northern) side of my house. The planes continue to astonish me.
With few exceptions the planes I see are very large airliners, carrying passengers to and from Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) airport, some miles to the east of me. At different times of day, I see and hear them so often—sometimes about one a minute—that the total must approach or even surpass a hundred a day. At other times, I see and hear none at all. Most of them appear to be outgoing. They fly very high from east to west.
Infrequently, I see planes I’m assuming are incoming. They generally fly quite low from the north and turn east as they approach my house. Even though they are thousands of feet lower than the outgoing aircraft, they make far less noise. I assume that’s because they use less power.
I’ve heard that residents of Columbia, Maryland (where I live) complain about the planes and the noise they cause. I don’t object to the noise. Maybe it’s because I’m somewhat deaf (the result of an old war wound). The sound ranges from a medium-pitched droning to a low rumble deep enough to resemble very noisy thunder. It can be loud enough to interrupt conversation. To me it’s pleasant, exciting, and, at times, beautiful. Maybe that’s the musician in me talking.
But it’s the sight of the planes, especially the outgoing ones, that enthralls me. At night, all I can see is lights flying across the sky. In the early morning, the sun is behind them, lighting them from below. Midday, the sun shines on them from the south (at least at this time of year). At day’s end, they fly into the dying rays of the sun, luminous and flashing.
At that time of day, I find them most beautiful. As the sun shines up on them from the west, they sail evenly away and eventually disappear from view. There is a placidity and steadiness about them that makes me feel peaceful. They signal the end of the day and the coming of night.
As is obvious from the foregoing, I love my planes. I feel a personal connection with them just as I do with flora and fauna surrounding the pond behind my house. This is my world, and I have a place in it. I share and am a part of the beauty that surrounds me.
As you may have guessed, I’m more artist than scientist.