James Turrell And My Fear Of Flying

When James Turrell heard that I was afraid of flying, he offered to take me over the Roden Crater in his two-seater plane. He had me there. My desire to say that I flew over the Roden Crater with the great artist James Turrell trumped my fear of flying, almost. It was a tiny little plane, what if we crashed?

Years before I had been in a New York restaurant when the woman who was in the car when Jackson Pollack died walked in. Well, one of the women, the other one died when he smashed his car into that tree. But as she strode through the restaurant, everyone stopped and stared. Someone whispered to me “She was in the car when Jackson Pollack died.” It was this story I remembered as I climbed into Turrell’s plane.

Yes, I thought to myself, if I died in a plane over Roden Crater with James Turrell it would be a noble death.

“Gee haw!” I shouted as we took off.

I didn’t die that day, but swooping low over the crater again and again, chasing his cattle across the countryside from above, waving to the cowboys who worked his ranch, I certainly went to heaven.


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