Hi, again! Joy to a new week! Woohoo!!
All right, enough pretend shouting. A few days ago, when I published the first half of this list of ten, I realized too late that I made a minor mistake. Nobody is going to care about this, but it bothered me, because I’m anal. I had said that the list is in no particular order of awesomeness, accept for the last visual experience being the best. What I meant was, the last visual experience as in #10 was the best, which is raved and gushed about on this post. On the previous post, yeah, the waterfall was amazing, but if I was listing those experiences according to their rate of awesomeness, the hot air balloon ride definitely beat the waterfall.
So, without further adue, here is the second half of ten spectacular, amazing, super fabulous visual wonders I’m thankful to have experienced, before my world started becoming a dim, color blind, fuzzy mush fest.
6. THE INCREDIBLE BLUES AND AQUAS OF THE DEEP OCEAN: Between 2003 and 2015, I had joined the family on a few Caribbean cruises. Thankfully we only had to settle for an inside cabin during one cruise. The rest, we got to stay in balcony rooms. I absolutely love, love, loved this. When the ship was sailing, spending time out on the balcony was blissful. At night, there’s something about listening to the ocean waving and thrashing in the dark that makes the sound seem even more calming and soothing. I used to love the way the lights on the sides of the ship illuminated the froth stirred up by the ship’s speed.
I loved to feel the energy from the ocean’s mighty power, and the amazing but humbling feeling of its vastness. Compared to how vast and massive the ocean is, I felt more like the size of an atom floating on a ship the size of a skin cell. It was an awesome reminder of how big the Earth really is.
During the day, the blue of the ocean was always beautiful, but its beauty was at its boldest and brightest when we were sailing through its deepest parts. I felt I could spend all day staring down at the waving marbly swirls of the most intense shades of aqua, turquoise, and blue that I had ever seen. To this day, aqua is my favorite color, even though it looks pretty dull and washed out now-a-days.
7. THE LIGHT AND COLOR DISTORTION FROM A SOLAR ECLIPSE: I first learned what a solar eclipse was, in third grade, and always hoped to witness one in my lifetime. I thought it would be the coolest thing to experience the moon blocking the sun and temporarily turning day into night, all while reducing the sun to a ring of corona wisps.
Mom got the chance to see one when she was a kid. She viewed it through a little cardboard box that had an aluminum foil lining. She said the eclipse didn’t turn the sky exactly as dark as night, but about as dark as dusk, and the sun’s corona looked like fire.
We had a solar eclipse in the summer of 1991, but disappointingly, there was barely any coverage. I snuck a half-second glance at it, and it just looked like the sun had a little black dot close beside it.
Then in the summer of 2017, America was anticipating another solar eclipse. The sun was expected to have more coverage in Florida this time around, compared to the eclipse of 1991. I was psyched. It had been over eighteen years since that time in third grade when I’d daydreamed about what it would be like to witness a total solar eclipse. Now the dream was finally coming true. I researched all kinds of information about solar eclipses over the internet, to help me get prepared for the big event. One of the things that was mentioned in one of the articles was that right before a total eclipse turns day into night, colors get distorted as the sunlight fades.
When the big day came, it was said on the news that Florida wasn’t going to get total coverage, but 85%. This didn’t put a damper on my excitement. 85% was close enough to being a total eclipse, I assumed. The parents and I took our seats on the back patio several minutes before the eclipse’s predicted time. We didn’t have solar eclipse glasses, but Dad was keeping tabs on it on his phone. For me, just the moon casting us into darkness for a minute or so would be enough of a show.
When the eclipse came, to my disappointment, it didn’t turn day into night, which proved how powerful the sun really is. However, I wasn’t too disappointed. 85% coverage was at least enough to distort colors, which was a part of the event I looked forward to seeing too.
The afternoon sunlight was slightly dimmed, and everything had a weird goldish hue. The green of the back yard grass turned more yellowish, and the sky had an odd purple tinge. To me, it looked almost periwinkle. In regular sunlight, my skin is zombi white. In the light of the solar eclipse, it looked like I had a nice tan. It also gave my brown hair an angelic looking gold shimmer. It wasn’t how I dreamed it would be, but it was still an unforgettable, cool experience.
8. UNUSUALLY COLORED FIREWORKS: It was the summer of 1998. The parents and I were visiting an old friend of Dad’s, who lived in the mountains of Georgia, but we stayed the night in a hotel. The mountain town itself was enchanting. There were scenic forests everywhere and mountains that glittered with granite and mica rocks. It was the fourth of July, America’s Independence day, but we kept the celebration very low key. The Georgian town we were in was in a dry county, so we couldn’t have really partied hard anyway.
We hung out in our hotel room and Watched the Boston Pops orchestra do their traditional Fourth of July concert, which was followed by a fireworks show. Meanwhile, their was a fireworks show outside that was even better. I don’t know where the fireworks were coming from, but it was thankfully some place near enough to the hotel where we could enjoy the show from our hotel room balcony.
These fireworks were not the usual red, gold, and green ones. They were all kinds of colors that I didn’t know fireworks were available in. They shot to the sky in glittering orbs of solid hot pink, yellow-orange, deep blue, bright purple, off-white, lavender, teal, peach, and just about every color in the crayon box. Even olive green. After each sparkling orb of color dispersed into a shower of sparks, the next color shot to the sky in perfect timing. I’m so happy to have seen this, because I never seen such unusually colored fireworks ever again. Olive green? Those fireworks were definitely not available in my state. That once in a lifetime show made that Fourth of July in 1998 one of my favorite ones.
9. UFOS: It was spring of 2009. Dad worked for Duke energy, at the time. His job involved fixing malfunctioning transformers and cleaning any oil leakage around them. He was sent out to places all over Florida to do this type of work. Some places were crazy distances away from where we lived, in Homosassa. St. George Island was one of them. St. George is a little windy, beachy island near the Florida panhandle. Dad’s job obligation there meant that he had to stay there a few days, so he invited Mom and I to join him.
It was a laid back, pleasant little trip. While Dad was out working, Mom and I hung out at our hotel room. We read, watched TV, I listened to CDs, and we got a good workout struggling to walk on the nearby soft sanded beach when the weather was exceptionally windy. When Dad was around, we went out to eat at the quaint little local restaurants, and then just hung out. This trip was the last place I would’ve expected to encounter extra terrestrial activity.
I was into aliens for most of my life. Not so much the science fiction type, but real stories about people who’d encountered them. It was my dream to see an actual UFO. I used to hope I would be abducted one day, despite hearing the scientific experiment horror stories from alien abductees. Even if they were to experiment on me, I still thought it would be so cool to meet a different species of people from another planet. To see the inside of a real spacecraft and the technology inside it that doesn’t exist anywhere on Earth, and to ask the alien scientists my lesser intelligent human questions. However, after reading Communion, and reading about how the aliens really fucked around with the author’s mind, I was glad to never have been abducted. Although, it was still cool to see UFOs. Or if they were not UFOs, it was cool to see what could’ve possibly been military testing of very alien-like technology.
One night, while I was lazing around in bed and watching TV, the parents went on an evening stroll on a boardwalk by the beach. When they came back, they told me about seeing glowing orange objects in the sky. The objects were spherical, and they’d disappear and reappear. The following night, I went walking with them to see if I could see what was possibly alien spacecraft too. I, of course, needed binoculars that were adjusted to their most magnifying strength.. As if the objects knew we had come out there to see them, they appeared into view shortly after we took our seats on a boardwalk bench.
To me, they didn’t look orange, but more like the color of candle flames. They were perfectly spherical, and made no sound as they flew over the ocean near the island’s coast. The weirdest, most alien thing about them was the way one would appear, and then multiply into three. Sometimes it was two or four or more. The way they multiplied was strange too. It was like, one glowing sphere would kind of magically poop out fully formed replicas of itself from one or both sides. They also only multiplied in strait horizontal rows with the spheres looking evenly spaced apart. Sometimes they disappeared a second or so after multiplication, and sometimes one sphere would appear to inhale and swallow the others in its row, before disappearing. Or they would swallow one another until they became one again. The way these things kept multiplying in different numbers and in different ways got me wondering if this was some sort of secret code. A military base was not that far from the beach. When the disappearing mathematical UFO show stopped, a military jet flew out from the base and in the direction of where the strange objects were, as though intending to investigate. Or perhaps they weren’t. Perhaps some advanced species from another world was communicating with American military, and the mathematically choreographed rows really were a code.
Whatever the case, the St. George locals were so used to seeing those objects, it was nothing interesting and exciting to them. They dismissed it as the military just doing their thing. I sure found it interesting and exciting, and even though there was no proof that what we saw was actual alien spacecraft, it was UFO-looking enough for me.
10. BEING A CO PILOT: Dad was a pilot, back in his younger days. From our life in St. Petersburge to when we lived in Inverness, we had a family plane. First, Dad owned a cute little two-seater plane that he named Emilia. Then he traded her in for a slightly bigger Sesna that could seat four. Both planes were kept at little nearby airports where other plane enthusiasts kept their privately owned leisure aircrafts. Every now and then, we’d have little family outings during the weekend, or on weekday evenings, where Dad would take us flying. Sometimes our dog, Angie, even went flying with us. I wonder what went on in her dog mind when she went for a plane ride. There was something about flying that made her more relaxed than riding in the car.
Dad’s little Sesna was limited on what tricks he could do with it. He couldn’t fly the plane upside-down, or make it do flips and spins, or anything crazy like that. The plane wasn’t designed for such things. Dad said that the wings could fall off if he tried to do anything dare devilish. However, the tricks he could make the plane do still thrilled me when I was a kid. He could make it fly almost completely sideways, but my favorite trick was when he made the plane stall. Stalling was flying it up to a certain height, and then shutting the engine off for a second or two to make the plane do a coasting sort of free fall for a thousand or so feet, before quickly turning the engine back on. I loved the fun, floaty elevator sensation from this.
As my sisters and I grew a little older, I remember them not being as into flying as I still was. Flying was never Mom’s passion in the first place. So she stayed back more often too, and it became mostly just me and Dad taking the plane out. Not believing I would ever go blind, I went through a phase where I was into aviation and rockets. I even dreamed of becoming an astronaut when I grew up. When I was ten, Dad allowed me to have the closest experience to taking command of a flight. My eyesight was limited compared to those with 20/20 vision, but it was sharp enough for co piloting a little plane that flew a lot lower than airline jets.
It was September of 1990. The family and I were living in Inverness, at the time. We had moved from St. Petersburge, a little over a year prior, but we visited the close family members that we left behind, at least once or twice a month. The problem with this was, St. Pete was about a two hour car ride away. Throughout that first year in Inverness, Dad talked of wanting to go to St. Pete by plane, because it would take less than half the time it took to drive. But because we were a family of five, the only way going to St. Pete by plane could be possible was if someone stayed behind.
On that magical weekend in September, it was time for another St. Pete visit, but Dad came up with a plan. Mom and Angie would take the car to St. Pete and he would take the plane, and me and my sisters could decide who goes with who. I gladly volunteered to fly with Dad.
Since it was just he and I, and the flight was going to be much longer than our typical fifteen or twenty minute joy ride flights—about forty to forty-five minutes—he asked if I’d like to sit up in front with him and be his co pilot. Of course I was up for this. Not only did I have eyesight, I already knew how to operate the steering wheel. I remember the Sesna’s two identical flat metal steering wheels that could be pulled outward from the dashboard and pushed back against it. If I could remember correctly, I think turning the left side of the steering wheel slightly at a downward tilting angle maneuvered the plane to the left. Turning the right side at a slightly downward tilting angle made it go right, but turning either side at a sharper tilt made the plane tilt. I think pulling the wheel outward turned the plane’s nose toward the ground, and pushing the wheel back into the dashboard steered the plane to fly higher. Something like that. It’s been thirty-two years since that magnificent voyage.
It was a clear and sunny afternoon, so the view below was incredible. During our short family joy flights, we flew in a more limited space of sky, not wandering too far from the airport and its surrounding parts of town.. While copiloting the flight from Inverness to St. Pete, we flew higher and got more of an eagle-eye view of North to Central Florida civilization.
wooded areas, expansive or small, different fields, parks, and pastures, and the trees and grasses among people’s yards and city blocks seemed to all unite together as one communal greenness of the land. Scattered all over the carpet of vegetation green were patchy messes of roof tops. Thousands of roof tops of houses and buildings resembled thousands of pebbles and stray mosaic tiles. More colorful roof tops, like ones that were blue or brick red, stood out among a majority of grays, tans, browns, and whites. Intermingled with the pebble and tile roof tops were lines, loops, and swerves of streets, which looked more like loose tangles of hair thin, gray thread. No matter what city we were flying over, I saw what looked like a never-ending pattern of vertical and horizontal lines that evenly crisscrossed over everything, like the world was divided into puzzle-like, perfectly symmetrical squares. In my silly kid mind, I wondered if this was the globe’s latitude and Longitude lines, and that maybe they’re really visible, just like they are on geographical maps. When I told Dad about this, later on, he told me that that was the power grid I was seeing.
I’ll never forget this particular body of water we flew over. I don’t remember if it was a lake or a bay, but its two-toned water looked so weird and mismatched. The body of water had a bridge across it, which looked white and about as long and as wide as a matchstick. On one side of the bridge, the water was a polluted looking brown. On the other side, it looked as blue as a swimming pool, or as blue as Windex. This looked so unnatural.
When we landed and arrived at another small airport, I felt like I was hot stuff, copiloting at only ten years old. Dad said I was a natural at it and did as good of a job as a fully sighted person. It gives me the warm-and-fuzzies, just writing about this memorable September Saturday afternoon, thirty-two years ago. When we met up with Mom, my sisters, and our dog at the grandparents’ house, the first thing that Dad and I did was brag about our flying adventure and my first time copiloting. I don’t remember what happened the rest of that weekend, or whether I co piloted with Dad on the flight back to Inverness, or let one of my sisters have a shot at it. But that first time co piloting is among my collection of fondest childhood memories, and one of my most favorite visual experiences.
That concludes my list of ten things I’m glad to have seen, before my eyesight went to poop. And speaking of eyes, I hope yours are still doing okay after reading that lengthy post.
Final thought: What do you get when a blind person’s prosthetic eyes fall into a pot of boiling water?…
… Eyes tea!
Love you all! Post you soon!