I love flying. Being in the airplane I mean. (Airport security etc. makes it almost impossible to like the entire traveling process between getting out of the car at the terminal and takeoff. Three to four hours of the first level of hell, right there.)
But when you’re over the clouds it’s awesome. When there’s a heavy overcast sky, far below you, it’s like flying over a carpet. Sometimes it’s like flying over a field of cotton balls, or shaved ice or homemade vanilla ice cream or something. I always feel a little smug knowing that it’s probably pouring down rain under there, but I’m above all that and I can stay nice and dry. Then we land in a rainstorm and it’s back to reality. I also love flying above the little fluffy clouds. C.S. Lewis in the book “The Silver Chair” said they looked like little sheep. And they totally do! Little balls of cotton fluff. It’s such a different perspective from above though. On the ground it’s just little bits of white on blue. But from above you have the backdrop of the Earth below you. And then sometimes when you’re right on the level of the clouds, and you can see the big cumulonimbus forming off in the distance, like castles in the air, or mesas floating on water.
I love to try and guess where we are in the country, flying west to Phoenix as we are now, or north to south, or whatever. The long ribbons of Appalachian Mountains, the wide snakes of rivers, the patchwork of farmland over the Midwest, the Rocky Mountain pyramids with their crazy steep shadows on the eastern side and snow on the peaks. I would love to know if I’m right in my guessing. I wonder if there’s an app for that? There really should be. On one flight a few years back, the plane had a little GPS locator on the movie screen that told you where you were. Ah-Maze-Ing. I watched it the entire time and then would stare out the window to see what that part of the country looked like from space. I always get a window seat, and I love that both American Airlines and US Air know this. Of course window seats limit your bathroom opportunities, but that’s okay.
Speaking of, this US Airways flight is a pretty cushy deal. Only two aisles, pleather seats, and completely unexpected, an almost ridiculous amount of legroom. Not that I’m complaining. But I’m actually almost comfortable here. Which is good because it’s sort of the way I’m thinking about life these days.
I think this trip is going to be good for changing my perspective. Work has been a little tough lately, not difficult but the hours are a little long and I have to work with a lot of different people on a lot of different things, which is not bad just complicated. And then personally too, I’m getting a little tired of always being an organizer and I’m starting to feel a little taken for granted. Add that to the left out feeling that started a couple years ago, and it’s kind of depressing. But I think traveling by myself will be good for me—a chance to just do what I want. I’m a little worried that I’m going to be lazy and not do everything I want to do. A big part of the reason I’ve done so much in my life so far is because I set up an activity and other people were counting on me to lead it. At least a third, maybe even half, of the activities and trips I led, I never would have done on my own—either because I was exhausted and couldn’t drag myself out of bed, or I just really wasn’t in the mood, or I would have gotten cold feet about doing something by myself and not gone alone.
But at this point in my life I realize I’m going to have to get used to doing things alone if I don’t want to “organize” them. And I really need to get used to that. I have a lot of things left on my life list, and if I’m afraid of being by myself or procrastinating too much, I’m not going to do them, and then I will have regrets. I already have a few, but I want to minimize those if possible. Having goals are good but if you aren’t trying to accomplish those goals then what’s the point.
Taking a cue from this video, which is lovely and really puts things into perspective. To quote the adorable but sage Ricky Nelson, “You can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself.”
90 minutes to Phoenix. Let the adventure begin!