I gaze at the reason I traveled all the way to New Mexico, enduring multi-hour travel delays and cancelled flights. We will only have two hours together, and I'm uncertain. So far, though, I like what I see. Dark, sleek, and obviously capable, the object of my attention waits patiently in the desert sun. In a few months we will spend hours together.
Our new helicopter has just come on contract and I'm here to see it. It will work here until July and then fly off to us. We are unsure: we have had the same type of aircraft for many years, and this one is different. We are used to where we put our stuff, where we all sit. We have had the same pilot for about nine years. But ready or not, it's time for a change.
The New Mexico crew, wearing fire clothes, optimistically swarms the helicopter with their gear, although rain is forecast. The company representatives hand out business cards. I gaze at the helicopter again before I leave to go back to the mountains.
It's a strange relationship we have. We have to trust each other, the crew, the pilot, and the machine, although we have never met. Soon we will know each other well. There will be early mornings and late nights, the smell of smoke and the sight of flames in the trees. Soon we will feel like we have always known each other.