Do We Dare to Be… Hopeful?

I am a little bit obsessed with all the updates about last Thursday’s so called “Miracle on the Hudson.” I realize I’m not alone in this. A major news story free of doom and gloom? (Unless, of course, you happen to be a goose.) A gloriously happy ending? Given the current state of the world, the sheer optimism of this story is as shocking as it is uplifting.

Everything about the conclusion of US Air Flight 1549 is incredible. Stranger than fiction.

The plane didn’t break apart. It didn’t flip over in the water. Nothing exploded. Nobody died on impact. The plane didn’t sink. Nobody drowned.

If a plane crash-landed in a movie like this flight actually did land on Thursday (see the video in the newslink above) the audience would bust out laughing at its implausibility.

It just doesn’t happen that way.

We see the harrowing crash scenes in movies like Castaway, or recall the circumstances of other plane crashes in years past, and know that those tragic outcomes, fact or fiction, are the likely result of any “water landing.” We chuckle uncomfortably at the concept of life vests on airplanes, knowing full well that in an accident, they would likely serve only to make the corpses easier to find.

And yet, somehow, thanks to a pilot’s incredible skill and calm demeanor, along with a healthy dose of good luck, they are all alive.

As if that’s not enough, the backdrop for this story is New York City, a place unfortunately distinctive as the setting for too many scenes of horror in recent years. The photos of living, and incredibly, mostly unharmed passengers lined up along the wings of the downed airbus — miserably cold, but very much alive — stand in stark contrast to the terrible images of the dust and death of 2001.

For months, we have been bombarded almost daily with images of stunned traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Grim, symbolic images of our troubled times, framed entirely by the Manhattan skyline. Spitting distance from Flight 1549’s watery landing strip.

The plane was pulled out of the Hudson River last night. The underbelly was described as “shredded,” and investigators are still trying to find a sunken engine. One wing appears charred. But one of the flight attendants described the ditch as little more than a “hard landing.” A big, scary thump with no bounce, and then a slow deceleration.

For once the story is a good one. And it’s hard to miss the symbolism.

I wonder. And I’m afraid to say it out loud. Could this be a turning point?

It goes without saying that it is far too simple. All economic forecasts, decimated advertising budgets, and jobless Circuit City employees indicate otherwise. But the blurry pictures of wing-surfing survivors are etched in my brain as the first joyous news image in many months.

While there is much to be fixed, one can only hope for the best, and rejoice in the positives as they reveal themselves. The realist in me knows better than to think that we’re on the mend just yet, but my optimistic heart really wants to believe.


10 responses to “Do We Dare to Be… Hopeful?

  1. And, in another positive development, KDF is back on the air! :-)

    Aw! Thank you! -KDF

  2. i’m with you, K, as my heart, too, for some reason unfathomable even to me, and despite all evidence to the contrary, is also optimistic

    that being said…

    (Unless, of course, you happen to be a goose.)

    you owe me a new monitor, and a new keyboard ;)


    Love you, girlie. ;)


  3. Abby (your daughter)

    ur smart mommy….. and an AmAzInG writer!!!!!! i will never be as good a writer as you are!! i mean i’ve had my blog for a year now and only had 3 posts!!!!!!! how did u get so many hits????????????

    Abby, you are a wonderful writer, and I love you. Just stick with it! -Mom

  4. K, I have to say the timing, coming just before the Inauguration, was pretty incredible.

    And if you’d picked from all the pilots in the country the one guy you’d want at the controls in an accident like this, Sully would be that guy, which is kind of mind-blowing.

    Anyway, welcome back.

    *waves to Abby*

    Thanks, Jeff. Couldn’t agree more. -KDF

  5. Yeah, my dad’s a pilot, and I was in civics class crying and thanking God that his airline wasn’t one of the ones hijacked the morning of 9/11. My heart goes out to the families of the pilots who weren’t so fortunate, not to mention the passengers and the people in the buildings.

    I was in a restaurant with a friend when I saw the news about the Hudson crash. I kept watching for news about casualties, expecting there would have to be some, and when they flashed the news that everyone made it, I yelled “Yes!” and tried to high-five my friend. She, an animal lover, continued to look grim and said she bet people’s pets in cages in the cargo hold drowned because nobody thought to try to save them. Her glass is generally a bit on the half empty side.

    But every passenger survived a plane crash! You don’t get to say that very often, and I’m thrilled we got to say it last week! Have joy! :-)

    And, welcome back, KDF! I’ve missed you!

    B, you can tell your friend that US Air doesn’t allow any pets to travel in the cargo hold. So, really, we’re still only mourning the geese. :) -KDF

  6. *waits for the soul-crushing inevitabilities of day-to-day life to take effect*
    bumble, i thought your friend was going to say “what about the poor geese?”

    I know, I know! WHAT ABOUT THE GEEEEEESE???!! -KDF

  7. Sheesh, it’s not like they were golden geese or something.

    I have had geese hiss and flap at me with their little tongues sticking out, and I spent an entire week of summer church camp side-stepping their crap and crappy attitudes while going to and from my cabin (it was next to a pond to which they’d laid claim). I will not mourn them. :-)

  8. Hey, I’m getting ready for book club and thought of you. We miss you!

    I agree the plane crash was amazing. But then just 5 days later! The incredible, awe-inspiring celebration of hope. I can’t get “AT LAST” out of my head!

    Hi Carlene! Yay, you made a comment! I miss you all, too. :) -KDF

  9. K, an optimist myself, I try to be real. I believe we are on the mend. I think Sully Sullenberger went one extra (huge) step & proved his mindset. OH, I agree w/Abby, you are an incredible writer. K

    Thanks, Kristin! -KDF

  10. Kath, welcome back, I’ve missed your awesome writing! Please give Sam a hug for me!

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