My worries were well-grounded. First trip, Pittsburgh to New York, we had several inches of new snow on the ground as did my daughter whom I planned to visit. I had an afternoon flight, so woke early to check status. The morning flights were all cancelled, but beginning with the noonish ones, the schedules reported on time. I didn’t know if that meant the planes would really fly, or just that the airline hadn’t yet gotten around to cancelling my flight. Still, I trudged out to the airport, ready to turn around and return home if needed. But a midday flight actually posted as boarding, so I took that as an omen for my own takeoff, two hours later. In fact, the only small delay I encountered was a brief stop at the de-icing machine, not something to complain about in such weather. The return trip was similarly iffy, but I indeed took off and landed on time. The parkway was wet but clear when I returned to Pittsburgh; my only tricky driving happened at the very end of the trip—the last three miles of afternoon driving through city streets were icy, slushy, slow.
LA also brought the question of clothing. New York and Pittsburgh share similar climates, similar weather patterns. Mostly, Monday's weather in Pittsburgh is Tuesday's in New York, highly predictable. But while I could wear my sheepskin boots and puffy down coat eastward, no way would I need those in California. So I compromised, stashing heavy winter gear in my car so I’d have it for the ride home. A good plan, as the clouds flung a wintry mix at western Pennsylvania just as I flew home. A midnight ride home on a clear parkway, but again, muck as I neared my house. This was getting old.
On each of my long flights I worked on student papers, alternating with recreational reading. And each flight got me where I wanted to go without serious incidents. So now I’m back on the ground, and for the next ten weeks, I’m staying put. I’ve been a frequent flyer, but I’ve decided something. My next several trips will be short, local, and primarily on foot. I have those things, attached to my body—feet. The wings were borrowed.