Stairway leading up to an open door showing clouds and blue skiesLast Friday morning I flew the Cirrus to Charlottesville, VA to visit John Hart. John is an excellent friend and great writer who’s had four books on the New York Times Bestseller List including his latest, Iron House. The only writer to win consecutive Edgar Awards for best novel, John is a great person who deserves his success.

John wanted a bird’s eye view of land he’d recently purchased so I took him up. His friend, Neal, joined us. Neal’s a developer in the Charlottesville area and has land adjacent to John’s. As we banked over the area, I glanced at them often as they peered down on the acreage. It’s intriguing to watch people see something familiar from a new perspective.

After a smooth flight we touched down to knock around Charlottesville for the day. Neal headed off to a business meeting while John and I hit Keswick Hall for bloody marys on the deck that overlooks a sweeping golf course. We regrouped with Neal later at the Downtown Pedestrian Mall, a bricked-in area on Main Street. Strolling to lunch, we passed John Grisham eating outside near the writing office he keeps above the mall.

John and I spent the afternoon exploring his future farm. We covered most of the hundred-plus acres, navigating wooded trails on a John Deere Gator. Stopping at various landmarks we’d seen from the air, we walked as John explained his plans for them. On one trail a blue glint caught my eye. Reaching through fall leaves, I pulled an old Bromo Seltzer bottle from the dark soil. Best guess is it’s ninety-years-old, its smooth opening hinting of a cork versus spirals needed for a screw top.

We ended the day at C&O Restaurant, arriving early to snag a corner table next to the bistro bar. Once a bunkhouse for early railroad workers, the restaurant now hums with the vibrant voices of diners. The hostess, Elaine, graced us with good cheer and unfolding stories of the restaurant in her 30 plus years working there. My favorite was the tale of the previous bartender, another thirty-year veteran of the restaurant who now travels the world on his sailboat. When I ordered the house cabernet from the server, Elaine brought the bottle herself to show the label, a sketched aircraft banking over mountains.

John Hart and Christopher Laney standing in front of Chris' plane.
John and me after our flight

Before leaving the next morning, I realized I’d lost my sunglasses during our trek through the woods. John and I jumped on the Gator, winding over the trails and through the woods until we emerged into a pasture near a knoll where John’s house will ultimately sit. John stopped the Gator. Two deer stood at stark attention on the slope, watching us as we watched them. Rising mist from the river diffused light from an early morning sun. Losing the sunglasses was a small price for the image before us. When we found them soon after I marked the memory, and find, as pure gifts.

Two hours later I lifted off into calm winds under overcast clouds, flying toward a mountain range. Home was on the other side. The clouds thinned as I flew, first to wisps, then to nothing. As the blue grew bolder above me, with fall’s rich colors rolling below, a rare moment unfolded, that sweeping feeling of universal perfection I’ve described before. I relaxed in the moment, holding onto it as long as possible until a voice from air traffic control invaded the sacred space.

After touchdown, I drove home for lunch with my family, but along the way I thought about the gifts flight has given me. Learning to fly had once been only a dream, one I stalled for so long. For years, when it sometimes pushed its way into my consciousness, I pushed back because life was too busy. But the desire kept surfacing until I realized that a dream without action eventually becomes nothing but regret. I think John would agree with me. His great success started with only a dream. But action made that dream reality.

Act on your dreams.

Related Posts:

Universal Perfection

The Most Important Promise

Just . . . Trust

Subscribe Now to Live Your Best Life

Every Journey Begins with a Single Step

I'll never share your email and you can opt-out at any time. Powered by ConvertKit