When we think of flight, we may think of the Wright Brothers, jet planes, birds, butterflies, or fear of flying.
As we have grown older, my fear of flying has lessened, but my husband’s has gotten worse to the point that he won’t fly at all anymore. I understand that, and he has plenty of company, but he missed a few unforgettable overseas trips I made. While in Egypt I went down a small zip line. Yes, I was scared to step off the platform, but it was a thrilling short flight through the air.
Several years ago I read a wonderful book about the Wright Brothers, how they got their start, the difficulties they overcame and learned from, and their eventual success and fame. It was an encouraging book and a fascinating look into history. They studied birds in flight and took much of what they saw into consideration as they designed their airplanes.
Birds are so varied in size, colors, sounds, habitats, and how they interact with each other. Cardinals have been one of my favorites from childhood, not only because they are beautiful, but especially because they mate for life, and I love that about them. I’m sure many other kinds of birds do too, but they don’t live in my backyard. Their little “Chip Chip” sound lets me know they are there. Now we have two Bluebird houses that my husband made, and of course we love watching their life cycle happening right before our eyes.
I have wondered for quite a while, as I’ve watched the birds in our backyard flit around so quickly, if their sense of time passing has to be slower than ours. How can they land on a fence or tree branch, and pounce on a worm in the ground with such precision and do it so fast? Wouldn’t they miss every once in a while? I also wondered if their sense of the length of their lives is slower than ours, so they don’t know they live and die in such a relatively short period of time compared to how we understand time. I actually found a 2013 study published in The Journal of Animal Behavior that confirms my thoughts. It says that metabolic rate and body size are linked with time perception. Basically, the study shows that smaller animals tend to perceive time as if it is passing in slow motion, compared to humans. So our little feathered friends live a longer and fuller life than we thought. That makes me happy.
Then there is the wonder and exhilaration of being up in the sky, unattached to the earth. Flying above the clouds in an airplane shows me just how big our world is, and how small I am in comparison. It helps keep my perspective where it should be, on God the creator, and not on me the created.