nothing so pretty
[A] young man and…woman, each laughing at the other for being so mad as to want a ride in this strange old flying machine…[T]he tall old wheels sped along the ground. Then…it was pure engine sound and wind beating us, and the trees and houses shrank smaller and smaller…Despite their laughter, they had been afraid of the [biplane.]…now they smiled and shouted to each other, looking down, pointing.
Why should that be so pretty to see? Because fear is ugly and joy is beautiful, simple as that? Maybe so. Nothing so pretty as vanished fear.
The air smelled like a million grassblades crushed, and the sun lowered to turn it from silver air into gold…
The girl touched her [husband’s] shoulder…to point out the church…It couldn’t have been too long ago that they had walked out the door of that church into a rice-storm,
and now it was all a little toy place, a thousand feet below. That tiny place? Why, it had been so big then, with the flowers and the music. Maybe it was big only because it was a special time.
We circled down lower…As soon as the tires touched, the dream was broken.
“Thanks a lot,” the young man said, “that was fun.”
“That was wonderful!” his wife said, radiant, forgetting to adjust the mask of convention about her words and her eyes.
“Glad to fly with you,” I said, my own mask firm in place, my own delight well down within myself and under tight control. There was so much more I wanted to say, to ask: Tell me how that all felt, first time…was the sky as blue, the air as golden for you as it is for me? …Thirty years, fifty years from now, will you remember?”
They walked away arm in arm, still smiling.
--from Richard Bach's Nothing By Chance: A Gypsy Pilot's Adventures in Modern America (Avon Books, 1969).