I love flying. Even in this day of unglamorous, snack-less, dirty-plane and screaming-passenger travel, I still love going to airports, watching planes take off and land, the rush and pressure of physical forces on the body during a take-off. A window seat is a must for me, I would rather be squeezed in a corner than miss the view.
I wanted to be a pilot for a while, took lessons, flew solo in a small Cessna plane, also parachuted for my 30th birthday. A breathless and exhilarating celebration of my life, and love of the skies. I am my father’s daughter. He, long before me, loved flying, and had an amazing life-long career in aeronautics that brought him and my mom to this country over 40 years ago. What an adventurous spirit he was.
I have many ties to travel, and flight, and am still in awe that humans can even be up in the air, casually sipping on ginger-ale at 30,000 feet. Flying will always remind me of my family, my dad, where I come from, and the many places I have lived.
But mostly, I love the view. The change of perspective. Seeing the earthscapes from above. As mountains gradually melt into a wide patterned patchwork of plains. Or vice versa…seeing the plateaus build like steps, to become jagged peaks, with the ocean beyond. This, to me, will always remain a sacred experience. It soothes my soul, clears the path between my rushing mind and anxious heart. I often say silently to my fellow passengers, sit down, shut up, and enjoy the altitude.
I just flew out of Seattle, a mossy green, lush place that in the winter can feel like a gray swamp. The clouds hang heavy for days, sometimes weeks. That is how my heart feels, too. Shrouded by the weight of grief. I just left my mom behind, after returning home for the 1-year anniversary of my dad’s death. Departures like this have a whole new meaning since the two losses my family suffered last year.
But now I am up in the air. Eye to eye with clouds that are dished up like meringues on a platter, gorgeous and light, the soft curve of the horizon, a beacon for every flight. And I am reminded that beyond the moody, gray, localized weather – when you break through that low-lying haze – there is always clear sky. Always. A wide open expanse of possibility and miracles, like men in flying machines. It doesn’t go away…it’s just easy to forget that it’s there.