Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Is That an Airplane I Hear?

“What’s that noise!?” 

Are you the kind of person who hears the high-pitched whistle of an approaching airplane as you lie in bed at night and wait for it to pass—grateful that it’s passed you by and is still airborne?  In my family that’s totally normal. We Fagiolis are hypersensitive to sound. I suspect, if we were wired to lab equipment when we hear a “ping” or bump that isn’t familiar to our super-power ears, there would be evidence of dilated pupils, a racing heart, increased breathing—again, all normal—genetically acquired.  (This hypersensitivity to sound does not include people speaking.)

Recently, Nick had the opportunity to fly in a two-seater airplane. He flew over the Margariti valley and along the Ionian coastline in a seat beside the pilot, a local man named Athanasios Giannelos. Athanasios highlights many of his flights by using a camera attached to the plane and posting the images to his Facebook page, AIRFIELD MARGARITI.

Originally, Nick thought that I might want to fly with Athanasios, but given the fact that a flight in a jumbo jet brings me to my knees,  I decided to pass. Maybe another time. I knew, however, that Athanasios and Nick would be flying over the house so with much excitement, I awaited the sound of the plane engine as I tried to go about my business. I even changed into a red blouse so that they'd be able to spot me on the balcony.

What actually happened was this: 

I wanted to stay close to the house so I wouldn't miss them, but at one point I took a chance and went to the backyard garden—my phone in my pocket, set on video. As soon as I reached the garden, I heard the plane motor and ran back to the house, through the living room and out to the balcony. It was a truck passing through the valley. I stood there more than a few minutes, waiting, scanning the horizon, and then thought I'd quickly throw a load of laundry in the machine. It was only a few steps away, still inside the house. But as soon as I opened the washer, I heard the plane, so I ran out to the balcony again and discovered it was a motorcycle a few houses down. Every motor I heard, sounded exactly like a small plane so I kept running out onto the balcony ready to wave. But there’d be no plane. This went on for quite a while until they finally flew over and I ran out to the balcony, tripping over the door jam and waving wildly—completely forgetting about my phone in my pocket. The plane swooped over the roof and Athanasios—God bless ‘im—waved the plane wings at me. 

It was thrilling and there remained that hyper-vigilant focus on sound that made it difficult to concentrate on other tasks as I waited to hear them pass by again. There was this sense of anticipation coupled with the distraction of ordinary outdoor sounds  that seemed to make everything become an airplane engine. It made me think of people in war zones.

Athanasios Giannelos  grew up here, in Margariti. From a young age, he watched the swallows draw circles in the sky and the storks swoosh over the warm currents of air and he longed to see the world from their perspective.

After much effort, he got his pilot license and bought a small plane. Athanasios then went about creating a landing strip in Margariti. He built a small hangar for his plane and cleared some land for a runway. Then he dove into the sea of red tape and bureaucracy in an effort to get Margariti Airstrip named as an official airport, internationally recognized. This took him twelve years. Stop and think about this for a second. Twelve years. That takes perseverance and vision that should be recognized—the true Greek spirit. I congratulate him on his effort—not only on bringing us an internationally recognized airport, but also on his naming of the airport. When the official record was being created, he had the opportunity to name it whatever he wanted, a clear opportunity for ego to play a role, and yet he chose the name Margariti Airstrip. 

The sound of an airplane motor, like a fire or police siren, is almost non-existent here in Margariti. But lately you can hear the hum of Athanasios' small aircraft overhead. It's not often and it's not loud, but it adds to the charm of the scenery, like the swallows and the storks.

Independent authors often have quite a challenge in getting exposure for their work. I hope, dear reader, you will consider writing a review on Amazon or 

No comments:

Post a Comment