The first time I ever was in a plane, I was 11 years old. RDU to LGA in a day to watch a baseball game.And now, 30 years later, I’ve maybe averaged a flight a year, enough that the process is a little rote.
But not the view.
I never get tired of the view.
I always sit by the window when I can, and always end up with a neck cramp by the end of the flight, watching the clouds, the rivers, the mountains, the earth from 35,000 feet slip by slowly enough from that perspective, that time seems to slow down, punctuated only by crossing planes at different altitudes, letting me know how fast things really are.
Actually according the laws of space-time, time does slow, however infinitesimally.
It’s meditative. Work is next to impossible with no network and a tilted seat in the way. The social networks are gone, the feed readers are gone, the news I really have no interest in but click on anyway, it all fades away.
I have my thoughts, the hum of the engines, and the quiet murmurings of 130+ souls on board with me.
But there’s only a few that I see staring at the sky and the earth below. They each have their own thoughts, their own lives, their own meditations, but my soul aches a little that they don’t look to see what they only can see from here.
But today, there was her. A young girl, unaccompanied for this trip, maybe 8 years old, maybe her first time on a plane, maybe not. She looked back once, eyes narrowed at the strange 41 year old white guy behind her with his bitchy resting face. I smiled shyly. And she did too.
The rest of the flight I stared out the window, phone camera in hand, occasionally looking forward to see her lifting her ipad camera, capturing the rolling ridges of West Virginia or just looking, marveling at miles of Western Ohio farmland.
That young lady has so many years ahead of her, so many new experiences to come. So much life.
Joy, and laughter, and I’m sure heartbreak and sadness, and everything in between.
But whatever life brings, whatever she chooses to be and to do — whatever dreams and reality may come. I hope that she spends all future flights staring out the windows, at the earth below, and her head in the clouds.