Issue 87 / May - June 2012
Beauty in the Sky
It was a shiny, blue sky when I heard the sound that cut through my head, and nailed me in place. I looked at where it was coming from, but I could not see anything. No matter how much I tried to follow it, it constantly escaped my look, as if hiding from me. My gaze was frozen looking at the direction I last heard it.
Not long after, I saw a minuscule thing coming to me from that direction; I thought it was a bird of some kind. Strange enough, the bird came to me so abruptly that I heard its sound only after it passed me... Guess what? It was not a bird; it was a fighter jet. This time, I knew where to look, and I followed it for the short while it played pick-a-boo with me.
The following day, mom took me to the celebration arena for a national day. I couldn't believe my eyes, everywhere was full of fighter jets; but my eyes looked for the one that mesmerized me the day before. And, it was standing right there, waiting for me to come. I approached it with respectful steps, and carefully touched it. It was so cold and tough, yet so beautiful. That day, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. The smell of the jet fuel coming from the engines was so powerful that even I could fly with that kind of a drink.
"Hey; come here" I heard someone calling me. There was really nobody around. "Follow the sharp smell, come on here," insisted the voice. Was I daydreaming, or had I been poisoned by the jet fuel and lost my conscience? Yeah, yeah, the voice was coming from the rear-end of the engine. It was the nozzle that was talking to me.
The moment I realized who was talking to me, I found myself in the circular, hollow structure of the nozzle. I was too nervous and surprised at first, but after a moment of looking around admiringly, I spoke with the words: "I know the inferno fire that you are exhausting. Isn't it beautiful? You are so powerful. You are the one that is powering this beauty in the sky."
The nozzle was not happy to hear my words of flattery. "Hey little boy, you know something, but you don't know everything. Yes, it is true that I am exhausting that violent river of gas. You are right that this stormy exhaust is in the heart of this beauty in the sky. But you have got to learn more. I am only a solid duct that is accelerating what comes into me. I have no power to compress that humongous amount of air into a volume as small as a bird's nest. I am completely unable to heat up the air to inferno level. And, the beauty in the sky is not taken up there by me either."
I was totally disappointed and frustrated by the nozzle. I had thought for an instant that it was my hero; but now, my dreams were destroyed. I felt all alone in a desert. The nozzle must have realized my situation, so it picked up again: "Come on. I am going to introduce you to the unseen heroes behind our mysterious beauty. I am going to show you the inside."
I was truly perplexed. What else could be more mysterious than a speaking nozzle? The voice of the nozzle slowly diffused into the deep and dark hallway into the engine, and I followed it. Soon, I came by long towers that had a nicely curved shape. As soon as I stepped near them, the floor that the towers were built on started moving. In the midst of this earthquake and a blinding darkness, I could faintly see another row of towers that were stagnant. I threw myself towards them. As I was dealing with my horrified and troubled soul, I heard a thunderous voice that reverberated everywhere:
"How nice to see you here, Adam!" I was doubly shocked. Not only was this unseen thing talking to me, but it also knew my name. "Do you know me?" I replied. "How could I miss your glittering eyes fixed at us whenever we pass over you? I am the turbine, one of the unseen heroes. I am the one that powers the compressors that squeeze the air. I am the one that faces the hot air before it goes into the nozzle."
Wow, this was the man; this was the legendary hero behind the beauty in the sky. I looked at its towers that displayed nobility and their curved surfaces that embodied beauty. As I was losing myself in admiration, I heard the voice again:
"These are the eyes that I have been seeing every time we passed over you. But I have to tell you something. What you are looking for is not me either, because I cannot create the hot air that energizes everything, including me. Despite the beauties and power embodied in me, I am not the essence that bears the real beauty you are looking for."
What was that supposed to mean? First the nozzle, now the turbine; every time, I am being attracted, and then I am left alone with a sense of deception. Are these heroes making fun of my admiration of their beauty? If so, they don't deserve my admiration anymore; if not, then why am I having this feeling of deception? Is it wrong to attribute hero status to something?
Lost in feelings and thoughts like these, I left the turbine, and proceeded further into the darkness. Not only didn't I know where I was, but also I had no means to determine my whereabouts. In total silence and darkness, I sat at a place that felt like a smooth and large room. Suddenly, a wind started blowing with growing speed, and a constant noise occupied everywhere. I was alarmed and sought somewhere to cling to. With the help of lightning that seemed to come out of nowhere, I saw a cavity that looked safe. After a challenging crawl, I was there. Then, a second lightning came and everywhere burst into fires. As if winds from the hell were gushing out. My jaw dropped down, I stared at this miraculous display of fire.
"Welcome, finally you are here," told a voice that was distinctly heard despite the violent storm. I felt like I am being driven through a scenario so that where ever I enter, I experience things that I was meant to. "Am I the hero of this scenario?", I asked myself inside, and laughed at the idea. Upon seeing so many extraordinary things, my awe of the strange things was veiled with habituation. So, I couldn't pay the respect that was due the voice I heard. Maybe because of this, I received a kick from behind, and I had to struggle against the winds of fire to get back to my seat where I was safe and comfortable.
"Hello, are you still there?" I asked. "Can you tell me where I am?" That distinct voice appeared again in my ears: "Indeed, I am here, but you weren't!" I bowed my head with shame. Having hurt the only one that could help me in this situation was as foolish as it could be. "And I was with you all along from the start." What was this? I didn't know whether to feel ashamed because of my selfish and pragmatic sense of respect, or to burst into a thousand pieces for not having recognized the one who has been with me all along?
"This is as far as you can go in this story. You are in the place where the energy that empowers everything is revealed. It is the heart of the beauty that you have been admiring." After a second of silence, "Did you find what you were looking for?" asked the voice. I had seen strange things, but none of them had satisfied my heart nor quenched my curiosity. A sad face was my response to the question, but I didn't know if the voice could see my face. Apparently it did, so that it directed me to another place. "You see this violent fire going on, would you like to fly away with it?" Was this guy crazy? How in the world could I survive in fire? "Well then, there are two ways to get out of here. Either you go along the fire back to where you came from. Or, if you are not able to do so, you go forward."
With that directive, I started crawling towards the front, into the strong wind. I came across a thing similar to the turbine, and then another hallway similar to the nozzle. At first I was puzzled, because I had seen the same things that I had seen on my way previously. Had I made a mistake and proceeded backwards? That mustn't be the case, since I had moved away from the fire.
After this stupefying similarity, I was at the mouth of the cave where everything starts. I was able to see the wings too. But now, the aircraft was moving. All of the storm that was going on inside was for accelerating. The force of the acceleration was so strong that I slipped from where I was clinging, and found myself stuck at the beautiful front curve of the wing. Strange enough, the same voice welcomed me again: "Finally you are here." I didn't know whether to reply to it or to lose myself while watching the beauty of the aircraft as it soared into the air with an ever increasing speed. It definitely felt like the divers who hear that beautiful voice when they go deeper than they should. I could not resist melting my body in the excitement of the maneuvers. After a while, we were hundreds of meters above where we had started. Now, the aircraft was cruising, and despite the rareness of the experience, it felt like sitting in the living room. With the steadiness of my state, I found myself emerging from the depths of excitement.
"Have you found the beauty you are looking for?" asked the voice again, to which I said yes. "Where do you think that beauty is coming from? From the engines or from the wings?" That question was most unexpected. The engine itself was not able to fly, it was only able to create a strong push. The wings were only beautiful. They did not actively do anything. They only stood there in the wind, and then, lift was there. Without the air, the wings would not create anything. As for the air, we are completely sunken in it, let alone flying. "I don't know where the beauty is coming from. There seems to be something missing in the ingredients that created the beauty of flight. None of the ingredients seems to originate it. It looks like you put the engine, the wings and the air in the pot, and suddenly something that you did not put comes into being."
"But you did not realize this point until you made this journey, despite that you have been witnessing the same beauty all along. "
Why was that the case? Why did I have to make this incredible journey in order to become aware of this uncertainty in the source of beauty?
"When you are not actually in a journey like this, you take all the mysteries for granted, because you consider them natural, ordinary. But once you are in the journey, you realize something different that exists neither in you nor in the things you come across. It is as if somebody is tracking what is going on, and whenever the necessary ingredients are there, he secretly adds the missing spice into it at the right amount. And, then? Behold the beauty!"