It was a most unusual request to make at the end of a funeral: Please exit the building, walk to the parking lot, and look toward the sky.
Out the mourning masses went, the gravity of their grief pressing down on their shoulders like some kind of inviolable physical law. They knew what was coming, but the poetry of the moment still startled and stirred their souls. Two jets, one trailing a colorful, smoky ribbon of tribute, streaked past and were gone an instant later, reminding the mourners of the brevity of it all, of the “need for speed” in making things right in the time that we have.
But it was the biplane that captured the spirit of Emily’s soul, the way it dipped and dived, twirled and twisted, cloud dancing above the gathered crowd like an eagle exulting in the joy of her maiden flight. She had known that joy–lived it to the hilt–and taught others to do the same.
The mourners smiled and shared a knowing glance–indeed, she had “slipped the surly bonds of earth” and “touched the face of God.” And they also shared a hope that soon all the inviolable physical laws would melt away, and that one day, she would fly again.