Notes from New Hampshire

The secret to racing, writes Ross Bentley is “to drive over the limit at times, bring it back, hang it out there, dance with the car at the ragged edge.”  I remembered Bentley’s advice a few weeks ago, while watching Top Gun: Maverick, with Tom Cruise as the aging fighter pilot who still feels, after all these years, “a need for speed.”  Who still pushes jet aircraft over the limit at times, and people, too. 

Later I was sketching out plans for a trip to New Hampshire, when the thought occurred to me — doesn’t everything worthwhile take place at some kind of edge?  Call it the ragged edge of reality.  A nebulous margin where knowledge gives way to the unknown.  Where jolts of pain and pleasure provide intermittent light, like signal flares.  Where the way forward, as Emerson wrote, “shall be wholly strange and new.”

In New Hampshire, the edge would lie for me along the White Mountain’s blade-like granite ridgelines, where I would attempt to climb a set of peaks without shoes or food (since that is how my practice works) — and to learn something, possibly, about myself and the world.

Continue reading “Notes from New Hampshire”

Notes from New Hampshire

Top Gun: Maverick

The recent hit movie Top Gun: Maverick opens with Tom Cruise in a pickle.  He’s test pilot for a next-generation stealth jet with a sleek black body reminiscent of the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane (which people my age might remember from growing up in the 1970s).  Cruise is gearing up for a test-flight in which he’ll take the jet to Mach 9, when he gets word that the Navy brass intends to kill the project….

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Top Gun: Maverick