As large as it was, the airplane rose quickly in the air and executed a sharp bank to the right. I followed its course until it was a small line marked by engine exhaust. I recognized it immediately as an Air Force C-141 Starlifter. I saw the first public roll-out of the craft at Travis AFB in 1964 and have seen the planes off and on ever since then. It is a symbolic and powerful link to my past.
I had never been to Lancaster before, but the area was startlingly familiar to me. Driving just over the mountain range into the Antelope Valley, the heavy fog lifted to reveal clear, open space. Posted signs indicated gusty winds. The winds obliged, as if to verify the validity of warnings. Unlike driving over the range to Thousand Oaks, I was not greeted with a smog cover, but by dark blue sky resplendent by dispersed Stratus formations far above the already high plain.
Instructions were to follow the signs to the Antelope Valley College. Naturally, I turned in the wrong direction from the off ramp. Surprisingly... I didn't experience the usual sudden clutch of anxiety, the quick glance to the rear, the sense that the world is crowding up my muffler. Surprisingly... there was a lot of time to move the car in the right direction.
The plane was making a secondary ascent (after a short period of level flight to account for wing load factors). Dvorak's Fourth was next in rehearsal, but the reduced orchestra wasn't (literally and figuratively speaking) finished with Bach, (Flaps 35 percent... engines one and four to 30 r’s).
The campus was obviously constructed in the early sixties. Each structure was numbered - the main buildings identified with the name of their function or the kind of studies engaged in their hollowed halls. Where windows joined the dark steel beams, panels painted in the early sixties
pale school green extended around corners, regularly combined with red or blue, but sometimes with sun faded gray doors that read "MAIN ELECTRICAL PANEL" or "PHYSICAL MAINTENANCE". These patterns gave me the impression that someone very carefully planned the position of each panel and its color to enhance the "general scheme of things", and to provide students with something to do during those reflective moments between classes. To enhance the "general scheme of things", walkways, benches, grass, and trees were all planted in a semi-ordered way to offset the potentially "space academy" appearance - this to remind us that there is something natural in leisure.
Lancaster is hot, even when there is a breeze, so naturally, the buildings feature well proven central air conditioning. So do the churches, restaurants, apartments, and ranch houses in the area. They all have modern air conditioning as well as a contemporary western look. Lancaster reminded me of Abilene, Texas. The school was like Madison Junior High, Cooper Senior High, and Hardin-Simmons University, all wrapped into one neat package - all complete, with the same churches, restaurants, apartments, and ranch houses in the area. Everything was complete, including the familiar whine of turbines and tire screeches.
The Starlifter was far away. It turned to the left and disappeared in a smokey little hole in the sky
About this blog.
This blog is a place where many of the confluences of my life can be shared. I am, at the core, a creative person. I approach everything from that basis... whether composing symphonies, playing the cello, being a serial entrepreneur, writing sermons and essays, flying airplanes, or creating software apps. I am deeply passionate about creativity, issues of social justice, and spiritual enrichment. These are fundamental to everything I do. Welcome to my journey!