Saying of the post: “Beauty does not always feel beautiful,” graffiti seen on a fence near the rail-trail

Beauty comes in many forms: The physical kind such as a flower; the emotional kind like an uplifting sing; and that kind that makes you sit back and think “Everything is good.”

I was overtaken with the latter kind of beauty as I sat in a little eight-seater plane about 4,000 feet in the air. I fought to keep my ears from popping and my motion sickness in check, but all was right in the world.
I saw it as my mountain family took its first plane ride. The free trip from our town to Wheeling, W.Va., was made possible through the airport efforts to increase enplanements. This figure, which basically is the number of people taking a flight either to or from the airport, determines the amount of federal funding the airport gets.

The free trips help boost the number. They are also one of the many programs held at the local airport to get youths interested in flying.

As we took off, the youngest Mountain Kid started singing “Danger Zone,” from the Top Gun movie. It was cute, but I was still worried.

As our altitude settled, everyone was in awe of the scenery, the bumpy roller-coaster ride, the instrument panel in the front. … It was like the veil of “I got up early for this?!” Was being lifted.

A short time later, we landed in the Wheeling airport. The terminal is a repository for a national museum and contains a history of aviation in West Virginia.

It’s done tastefully, everything — even the seats President John Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, sat in — was placed somewhere that seemed appropriate for its use. The displays didn’t clog the terminal so you couldn’t get around.

I think the Mountain Kids were impressed by the model planes. I found a bike built by the Wright Brothers in a corner by an entrance. It’s rims were bare and the seat was worn, but it looked like someone placed it there for safe-keeping after coming inside.


Eventually, we rode back home. We were able to get a better look at landmarks we knew. We were surprised by what we didn’t know. Well pads for drilling Marcellus shale are big, even from the air. So are coal mines. I know they were big, but when they don’t look small like everything else, it’s a little unsettling.

It was good to be home. But it was beautiful so see my kids’ eyes light up like Christmas Day as they talked about the trip.

That beauty is something I have often sought for my family. And it seemed like the first time in a while when everyone was excited about something. Not just the kids, or just Mountain Papa, everyone had something great to say about our adventure.

I often find this beauty in running. I love being out there and just running with a big grin on my face. The peace that comes with finding beauty in a run can’t be described adequately. It’s something that you have to feel for yourself.

How will you know when you find it? You’ll have that same grin on your face as I do.

Embrace the adventure and you too can find beauty.