First day back to work after a wonderful vacation, and all of the restorative effects wear off within the first half of the morning. The missed week's frustrations awaiting my arrival patiently, lying in ambush in the Outlook Inbox like a pack of hyenas hidden by the watering hole, eagerly anticipating the arrival of the not-quite-wary-enough gazelle. The wheels come off the bus early, problems cropping up like brushfires, efforts to squelch them only prolonging the agony of addressing last week's similar complaints.
The normal ire-inducing drive home, avoiding America's finest drivers and their ill-thought antics. Dinner cooked, cholesterol count climbs, dishes to be washed. Legs twitching with pent up stress and energy, mind screaming for a distraction from the inevitable climb back down into the well worn rut. Ah, a Miata drive to the airport might do the trick.
The hangar beckons, my trusty mount stabled inside, also chomping at the bit, needing a canter around the pasture to stretch his legs too. The rider and steed both willing, we saddle up for a quick jaunt.
The tower is closed, so it's just us and the low-time renter painstakingly and meticulously going through his run-up checklist at the end of the runway. Our run-up is much simpler - we know each other intimately after a few hundred hours together. We take the next taxiway down the runway rather than wait, the loss of 300 feet or so of available runway not a serious factor given the 5000+ feet remaining. Winds calm, Papa in a get-up-and-go mood, and we're 50' above the concrete accelerating to 140 mph in no time. Off the end of the runway, the rider still holding Papa down low, until at just the right moment he pulls up into a climbing right turn to the west, showing his neighbors what it means to be in passionate love, a love that they will never feel nor fully understand, with what they see only as a machine.
Out to the west, and it's time to rein in Papa to save a few dollars on fuel. A few positive G steep turns, some climbs and descents to watch the airspeed indicator and altimeter hands exchange extremes on their respective faces, and a turn back to the ranch. It's beautiful up here, with the setting sun in the west casting orange-pink hues on the few clouds and a full yellow moon rising in the east, continuing its age-old, yet as futile as the coyote's pursuit of the roadrunner, chase of the setting sun. He will never catch it, but he will never stop trying.
Racing away from the rapidly setting sun towards the equally rapidly ascending moon, all the while gaining speed while losing altitude, we cross over the neighborhood at 167 knots across the ground. A tight bank into the downwind bleeds off the speed, and by the time we reach the big '22' painted on the arrival end of the runway, we are slow enough to drop the flaps.
A smooth, graceful landing rewards the practice that has gone into achieving same, and a brief taxi back to the hangar finishes our ride. The tach indicates an elapsed time of .20 hours - read that as 12 minutes if it makes it easier for you. Twelve minutes, but the relaxing effect far surpassing any that would be available through hours of expensive therapy.
Appetite sated, and the drive home in the Miata provides a tasty yet light dessert.