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Poems and Thoughts    by Frank Maurer

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Flying V: After a long Hiatus.

A long interim of school, work, and marriage,
Until graduate school hit and my related field work.
I was studying blood transferrins of the Meadow Vole, Microtus pennsylvanicus.
I managed to be accepted in the Conservation Department of Cornell,
Working with electrophoresis under Professor Charles Sibley.
(His son, David Allen Sibley, paints and writes the bird I.D. guides!)
Field work consisted of capturing these voles from under hay bales
In nearby Ithaca (NY) hay fields--all set up for me.
From under distributed hay bales, I would flip and lunge for my 'prey'.
In my five years, I captured and bred more than 6000 rodents.

Nearby was the Ithaca airport
Which spewed out plane after plane, winging over my fields.
After several months, I could take it no longer,
And bicycled over to the nearby port to inquire about lessons.
Unhesitantly I signed up for whatever was going to come.
For more than 30 hours, I concentrated diligently to earn my first solo flight.
What an absolute thrill to rise from the earth alone,
And maneuver this machine to come round and return safely to the waiting ground !
Many more tests would occur before a license was granted :
Flying cross country with a map spread over my lap--
The railway tracks--on the north or the south side of that highway?;
Realizing I needed to connect the map with rising topography ahead ;
Listening to the radio announcement of another student,
Landing simultaneously, heading straight towards me from the incorrect direction ;
Landing in the dark--control lights off and listening to the wind
Through an open window so as not to stall ;
Dropping abruptly down over a barrier of trees
In order to reach a short runway immediately ahead.

Tough lessons which provoked deep thought and common sense ;
Preparing me for a series of further flying challenges.
Which actually kept me alive!

Frank Maurer 10 to 19 June 2023.

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