"Spin" in aviation training: a "stall" or loss of lift, a subsequent nose-down spin, the specific actions required for recovery, and the feeling, after recovery, that you could tackle absolutely anything!

Friday, 10 June 2016


There is a copse of trees on the west side of this house between the deck and the rail fence that delineates the property line. There are several impressive spruce trees, white pines, and a couple significant maples, all in and around three stories high. It's a nice mini-forest and is home to the predictable cadre of southern Ontario fauna. The trees shade the house late in the afternoon and a small fish pond tucked deeper in beyond the deck. Normally, when the wind is light, you might not notice the trees, at least in particular, but yesterday, when the wind was fierce and relentless, the trees were, for me in my own little mind, quite entertaining.

Up front here, we have the spruce trees stage left, and the white pines more central and stage right. The maples, the only deciduous in the bunch, are in the back. The maples are fully leafed out. I can see their tops between the pyramidical shapes of the pines and the spruces. The pines are the least impressive of the bunch. Their needles are more sparsely arrayed, possibly due to these trees being shaded by a manitoba maple from next door. Fucker. But the spruces! These spruces are something. They stand like grand ladies gathering around the martini table while the rest of the world suffers under prohibition. It is as if their arms, shoulders, necks, are dripping with green, lush ermines and heavy lace. The wind made the party go, and the spruces waved and twisted with passion and elegance, and a touch of being totally  blasted. The pines were, well, perhaps the pines were handling catering. They hardly moved at all. Their sparse regalia, inept at catching the wind, left them the dullards of the fĂȘte. The maples in back? The maples were insane. Their leaves were catching all of the wind. They looked to be on acid, or red twizzlers at least. You know those party stories where so-and-so danced on the table with a soup terrine? Maples. Bending and twisting like crazy. 

The party went on for most of the day. The pines served, cleared tables, and sucked their teeth at the behavior of the guests. The spruces swayed and shimmied like kept women of the 1920's on a tear. And the maples never missed a beat, twisting back up when you thought for sure that they were down, or done.  The funny thing is that today, things in the copse are quiet; hangover quiet. Nobody is moving. Nobody is admitting to any questionable behavior, and nobody is looking at the white pines. Fucking white pines, standing there with a, Well of course you have a headache. What did you think was going to happen? You disgust me. All of you.

The maples are quiet and would like it very much if you could ask those birds to pipe down. The white pines have an unmistakable air of prickish righteousness about them. The spruces are as stately as ever. Their rich, lustrous branches hang with the vibrancy of jazz, and an unapologetic joie de vivre... But daaaling, if you wouldn't mind getting me a glass of seltzer, I would be much obliged.

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