Francis Meyrick

If you’re good…

Posted on November 24, 2007

(I took a child, by the hand)


If you’re good, you can come with me.
You’ll have to be good. Otherwise I won’t take you.
Give me your hand. There now…

Close your eyes, and listen to me.
We’re in a helicopter, a small one, flying along…
Precariously, fragile, alone, above the Pacific Ocean.
The nearest land is way, way over the horizon, five hundred miles away.
There are no man made structures here. No houses. No sky scrapers. No bridges.
No ships. There is no sign of Man. There is nothing, nothing to remind you of him.
He is not important. Not even remotely.
Only the waves to watch, and the foam, blown by the wind.

It’s been like this for a long time.
Yes, long before Man came, with his ships, and his arrogance, long before that, these waves were here. Did you know that? And probably, long after Man has gone, long afterwards, these waves will still be here…
With only the wind howling a wordless, unheard Requiem.

Open your eyes now. See?
You can look around the whole horizon. Three hundred and sixty degrees. Only waves. And clouds. The visibility is excellent. It’s a bit blustery, but the cold front is what’s responsible for this view. Do you like it? Do you sense how small we are? How insignificant? There’s not many places on earth you can see the whole horizon like this.
How far do you think we can see? Twenty, thirty, forty miles? More?
Do you see those heavy rain showers over there? Let’s fly over there. You can hold the cyclic stick. Like that. Now, very gently, move the stick to the right. Can you feel us bank? Listen to the blades slapping the air….
Do you see the way the nose is swinging around? Line it up with that rain shower, the big one. Very good…. stop there, and we’ll aim straight at it. No, silly, we can’t fly all the way through it, because there is turbulence in there, that could hurt us. But if you like, we can
fly along the edges. Watch the rain drops spatter on the windscreen…. Just for fun.
Would you like that?

Do you know how you tell which way the wind is blowing? By the foam…
You’d think the wind would blow the foam downwind, wouldn’t you? But that’s not the way it works. The waves move under the foam, which falls upwind. That’s how you can tell the direction of the wind. Interesting, isn’t it?

Now, we’re getting closer to that storm cell. We’ll have to be careful, because there are micro bursts around here. Violent down drafts, with heavy rain and turbulence.
And waterspouts, powerful monsters of wind and water, that are more than a match for a frail little man-made craft such as ours… We don’t want to crash out here, all on our own, do we? Nobody would ever find us…
No, that wouldn’t be nice at all, so we’re going to be very careful.
Ah…! There’s the first drops now, spattering on the windscreen, running away to the sides, blown by the speed we’re going at. You like that, don’t you? Now, there is something else I want to show you. Do you see that white speck over there? Do you see how it’s growing? That’s called a foamer. Some people call it white water. It’s made by fish, Yellowfin and Skipjack tuna, as they chase around catching small anchovy. Yes, they’re really coming up now. See the big Yellowfin? See how they erupt clear and high out of the water? It’s almost like they are having fun, isn’t it? Playing at who can jump the highest, at who can make the biggest splash, at who can make the most white water. Do you see them chasing each other? It’s like their playing ring-a-ring-of roses, isn’t it? Yes, they’re having fun… like a bunch of schoolboys just let out of school…

But this is what I really wanted to show you.
You see the way we’re surrounded now by micro bursts? Oh, they won’t hurt us, they’re still too far away. That one is five miles away, and that one more like six. This one here is still three miles away,and all we are getting is a few drops. Now, have you ever been in a great big old Gothic cathedral? The ones with the huge high roof, and the massive pillars? Imagine you were in one of those…. If you craned your head back, and looked up, you’d see the pillars flowing up, and up, seemingly forever, until, at length they joined the massive span of the ceiling. It’s as if the pillars flow up to heaven itself. The architects in the middle ages built them like that to remind people of how great God is. The believers would come, and admire the builders’ work, and feel awe in their hearts…

Now, can you see we are in a Gothic cathedral out here?
Can you see the pillars of rain and storms, with above it the ceiling of angry clouds?
Can you understand, out here, some of the awe that those medieval worshipers must have felt? Which do you think is the more impressive cathedral? The man-made versions, or this one? Can you relate to how small I feel? How breathless, how timeless, my little tip toe through life, startling only in its brevity, actually is…?

I’m going to take you home now.
Because I think you might be getting tired. I’ve shown you something I’d like you to keep in your mind’s eye. It’s something to think about. Something to be aware of…

Well, I hope you’ve had a nice day.
I’m glad you came with me. You were very good.
I’ll going to take you home now, so you can play with your toys. I know you’ll be glad to get back to your doll’s house, and your little toy cars. I know how much you like to play with them. Maybe, if you’re good, we’ll do it again some day. In the meantime, you be happy now, and I hope you enjoy playing with your toys…

…your skyscrapers, and your big houses. Your cars, your newspapers, and your magazines. Your stock index, and your 401(K) plan. Your Roth IRA, your cable news, and your gold coins. Your University Degrees, and your books of so-called knowledge. Your dry, institutionalized, comforting, God-in-a-box religion. Your career, and your promotions. Your ambitions, and your pride. Your sense of achievement, and your delusions of superior knowledge…

You do have a lot of toys, don’t you?


Last edited by Francis Meyrick on September 11, 2011, 1:58 pm

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5 responses to “If you’re good…”

  1. This is a very strange story for me. I listen to it two times.
    You completely surprise me at the end. I was not expecting this.
    This makes me think this was very good.
    Again, it takes me a time to get used to your voice, and sometimes the quality is not so good. But the story line is very interesting.
    Do you imagine all this? Or is it true?
    The one thing I do not like is the sound of the roter blades. For this I think you need the real sound of a real helicopter, you can do this with a audio mixer.

  2. No, I sure didn’t imagine it.
    It’s based on an actual event during five years flying helicopters off Taiwanese and Korean tuna boats in the Pacific Ocean.
    Yes, I think the rotor sound isn’t quite right. It probably needs sound effects, like seagulls squawking and stuff…. maybe, one day.

  3. I waited for you to say "take the second star to the right and fly straight on ’til morning". Yer peter…peter pan – that’s who! You’re mistaken though when you presume we are all the ne’er do well grown up folk and and fail to see some of us are just like you – innocents forever.

    I saw something again – when you were deriding all those institutions. It reminded me of a quote by Dostoyevsky . . .Sarcasm: the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded.

    Great story. Now, where’s the boy?

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