At about 5 pm today, a roar of jet engines in the sky had me looking up just in time to see nine flashes of red and white streaking across the heavy, grey firmament. Around me, other walkers had also stopped and were craning their necks and positioning their iPhones for that last glimpse of the C-114 Tutors.

These demonstration flights across Canada are called “Operation Inspiration”. Their mission is the Snowbirds’ contribution to our collective efforts to keep Canada safe from COVID-19.

Their mission worked for me. Seeing them cheered me up and it may have cheered you as well, but why?

There are several reasons that an event like these demonstration flights would help us to feel better. First, they are a positive break from routine and research has established that such breaks do indeed lift our spirits.

Now picture everyone focused on the sky intently, looking for the signature red and white of Canada’s colours, and then following the spectacle as it moves across the sky. This intent focus for several moments or even a few minutes is a burst of mindfulness activity that centres you, relaxes you, and takes you away from your worries and back to the moment.

Most importantly, the Canadian Forces 431 Air Demonstration Squadron is conducting these flights over Canadian cities for us, for Canadians, specifically to inspire us in a time of difficulty. How can you not feel better knowing that this special event was designed as a thank you to you for all our efforts?

That may sound cheesy, but if the Snowbirds’ fly past brightened our day, wasn’t it worth it?

(Photo credit: This is from the Canadian Forces website – I’m not fast enough with my phone to have gotten an image.)

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