Onward

Looking in the rearview mirror, we can always see where we’ve been.

Where we’ve been might have some relevance to where we’re going, but it never has the final say on how and when we get there. What’s behind us will always remain where it is, in the past. It’s only a memory of yesterday and if its reflection should show up as you look toward tomorrow, then you need to get out of the cockpit for a minute and clean your windshield.

There are many people, places and things we’ve left behind. Some we will always miss; some we are glad to be done with. All have taught us lessons and offered some form of training which has served to propel us forward.

There were spray seasons we’ve all endured when the wind was wrong, the load too heavy and the runway too short. Times when we just had too much weight and drag and not enough lift and thrust. Those weren’t the best times, but perhaps those times were the ones that taught us the most. Those times make the great seasons even better. As long as we have enough sense to realize it.

As we stumble into the new year, we’re leaving a not-so great year behind. 2020 will go into the history books with more black eyes than a cowpea patch. I think we’ve all learned a lot about ourselves and about our world as a whole. Things ain’t like they used to be and probably never will be again. There are new challenges to overcome and things we will have to adapt to. The calendar will continue to unfold whether we like it or not, so we’d better be prepared to do the best we can to make it through whatever comes next. I have a feeling we’ll all need to exploit as much ground effect as possible in the coming year. Fly the wing.

This new year lays before us unmarked and wide open. A twelve-month long road divided into fifty-two weeks and three hundred sixty-five days. Every one of them a blank slate just waiting for us to fill them in. There will be opportunities we haven’t yet found, there will be traps and wires we haven’t yet seen. We will need to approach with a handful of caution and a pocketful of optimism. The possibilities are endless.

Agricultural aviation is one of those few industries that doesn’t waver much with the national headlines. No matter what the lapdog media spews, we still do what we do. We’re mostly a behind the scenes kind of occupation, part of the vague reality of life. We have to provide food and fiber for the world even when the world is going crazy. I find it interesting how the five thousand dollar a plate fundraiser serves fresh meat, vegetables and fruit to enjoy while they talk about how terrible modern agriculture is. I guess they never heard that it’s not polite to complain with your mouth full. But we already know that story.

I guess what I’m getting at here is to try our best to go forward without dragging all last year’s nonsense along with us. Who knows, there might be a day coming up when common sense could return. It could happen, maybe.

This year brings great changes to many of us. I’ve heard of a few guys retiring after a lifetime and thousands of hours in the seat. Others are  just beginning on their own journey in this magnificent way of life. I’m especially excited for those guys. I know we wish them all the very best.

Personally, I made a move that hurt like hell, but one that was necessary. I left California behind and finally made my way back to my home soil in Oklahoma. I was blessed beyond measure to fly for Lakeland Dusters Aviation. It became my home and the folks there were my family. I absolutely loved working and flying there. The pilots there are guys I have always admired and I consider it an honor to have had the opportunity to have flown with them. I learned more than I could ever count and I enjoyed every minute of it. It was without a doubt, one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made. But I’ve learned, mostly through trial and error, there is an ebb and flow to life and it’s up to us to recognize when the tide is right to set sail. When the good Lord shows you which way to go, you’d best hitch up your britches and step out. We do well when we learn to listen to the Man with the master plan. He never said it would be easy. But He did say, “Have faith.”.

I brought my helmet and seat cushion with me to Oklahoma, because there’s some great fellas out here in the American Midwest who have a beautiful 502 Air Tractor they said I could fly. One of my personal principles is to spend every day earning my place and to never take anything for granted. I’m looking forward to earning the opportunity to fly and work with another incredible operation. It’s going to be a whole new horizon and I’m chomping on the bit to get going.

I don’t know what I‘ve done to deserve all the blessings I’ve been given. If I knew, I’d write a book about it and put on a long winded infomercial. That’s probably why I don’t know. Some things are best left alone.

Let’s go forward now, all of us into 2021 with our eyes wide open, chests out, backs straight and our minds set on being safe, efficient and successful! Happy New Year!

Fly well and stay safe!

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