Flying North

I like to travel by air. So long as I can see out the window, I am unafraid. So long as I can see that we are hurtling through a cloud, that we are thousands of feet above wilderness, that the lights of a city string out below us like the spider veins of my legs, I am alright. It is an act of meditation to stare out the lozenge-shaped window and watch the sun bronze the clouds in setting, to watch the diffusion of blue moonlight cast its glow out to the horizon– a horizon farther away than any other I’ve seen. The Rockies can’t grant a horizon like that.

I feel small sitting there in coach, inhaling with my eye the dance of lightning from a far-off storm. I feel small and assured that I am small, safe in the knowledge that the world will end and the sun will go out, and that there is a chance that I could die before I reach my destination. But these have never really been worries of mine. Certainties like these– they give my world a kind of solidity. I am small and assured that I am small. Nothing rests on me but the weight of the forces of the universe, the lives of millions of microbes and the heart of one love waiting for me on the other side of an airport terminal.

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