I’ve blogged in previous years about living in Columbia, Maryland, and sitting on my deck looking north across the pond, surrounded by mature trees of all varieties. These days, with summer’s end at hand, I spend as much time as I can on the deck, especially at the end of the day. I live in the approach and departure flight paths from Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI), less than twenty miles to my east. I watch low-flying planes head south toward me, then turn east to land at BWI. And I see planes much higher up and much louder—presumably using much more energy to climb—flying west after takeoff.
Weather permitting, I take all my meals on my deck so I can delve into my glorious surroundings and enjoy them to the hilt. That means that I have plenty of opportunities to watch the BWI planes. My favorite time bar none is evening twilight. Then I can watch the planes lit from below when the sun is too far down to see from my deck but still shines up and floods the underside of the planes with brilliant light. The sight takes my breath away.
I am humbled by my good fortune. But I judge that I earned my happy retirement: I repeatedly risked my life on the battlefield for the good of my country, first in Vietnam, later elsewhere (still classified). I didn’t do it for the rewards; I did it for my country and especially for the man fighting next to me. And I came away scarred by Post-Traumatic Stress Injury. So the beautiful place I now live and write are the just recompence for my sacrifice.