About two weeks ago, I woke up to an email from one of our community partners, Ray Funnye, detailing an opportunity for the group to do some “aerial reconnaissance” of the Georgetown area. Without knowing exactly what type of aircraft we would be on, where we would be flying out of, or what exactly “aerial reconnaissance” even meant, the group jumped on the possibility and aptly named it the “plane adventure.”
So June 12th finally rolled around, and we woke up begrudgingly early to head to the Georgetown County Airport to find out what exactly we were getting ourselves into. We walked into the airport to find three very, very, VERY small airplanes waiting for us on the tarmac, along with three pilots who fly these awesome planes as a (pretty sweet) hobby. Dan Drost, one of the pilots, took us out to the tarmac to show off his 1952 Chipmunk, a plane built in England that flew in the RAF for 44 years. Now, that Chipmunk resides in Georgetown, South Carolina, and I got to fly it.
As I saw Barak and Mr. Drost landing on the runway, I waited anxiously to get into the tiny plane and see Georgetown from above. I hurried over to the Chipmunk and climbed into the cockpit, I even got to wear a pretty sweet headset that was straight out of Top Gun. Now, I’ve been on large, commercial jets before, but there is absolutely nothing like the feeling of taking off in one of these small planes. I pride myself in saying that I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie, and this plane ride definitely delivered.
Once we were in the air, Mr. Drost took me all along the coast of Georgetown and up into Pawley’s Island. I saw Sandy’s Island, DeBordieu, the Waccamaw River, and the vast Atlantic Ocean from 1500 feet above. Something about being so far removed from the ground, from the place where everything that matters to you resides, makes you feel so small, so insignificant. Being 1500 feet above Georgetown gave me the same eerie, magnificent feeling that I had that night, when I stood by the dark, swirling ocean and looked up at the dim stars as I talked to Jack about life and our time in Georgetown so far. So small. So insignificant. Yet so humbled.
Although we may be small in the grand scheme of this great big world, I find peace in the fact that I am making an impact through my work in my hometown, at Duke, and here in Georgetown. I find peace in the fact that my internship at Plantersville Summer Academy has the potential to impact so many children’s lives, not to mention my own. I find peace in the fact that I have already had so many opportunities to feel so small and so insignificant and so humbled in my short life. And I find peace in the fact that I know I can continue to make small impacts wherever I go, as long as I choose to do so.
Much to my protest, the plane ride had to come to an end, but not before Mr. Drost did a fancy maneuver that RAF bomber pilots used to do, in which the plane was literally perpendicular to the ground. Safe to say I got my adrenaline rush for the day.
Stay tuned, folks. A new goal has been added to my “To Do Before Graduation” list: Get my pilot’s license.