Monday, June 11, 2012

Chasing Daylight

Getting 14 people across the country is an adventure and I have more to tell, but it's 4:30 in the morning Eastern time and I'm delirious. Crossing the continent made me wax poetic. I'll be funny when I'm more awake.

At 36,000 feet, the Earth expands. It grows larger than the ground under my feet, larger than my neighborhood, and even an entire city. It becomes a planet. The sun sits just over the soft curvature where the land disappears into space.

The clock, still set for the east, says 8:30 as the muddy Mississippi snakes like a thin ribbon as far as the eye can see.

10:25 and I can still see the bright red glow of the setting sun. 

The Mississippi is long gone, having given way to a patchwork sea of brown and green. Nebraska, the pilot tells us.

11:00 brings brown hills, big ones because even way up here you can see that they’re hills. I think maybe "mountains" would be a more accurate description. We’re 40 miles north of Caspar, Wyoming.

11:30 and I realize I was wrong. The brown hills were just hills.

Real mountains, and like anything real and wonderful, they don’t need to announce themselves or brag. They just are. They have always been. They will be when we are gone.


Clouds camouflage themselves, hovering over and intertwining with the snow caps.

Mount St. Helens

Mount Rainier

12:35. On the ground, night has fallen. Lights twinkle in the darkness, but up here, the horizon still glows a brilliant red.

A glimpse of the Pacific and then we descend. Even as the Emerald City sprawls, sparkling beneath us, the Earth has become smaller.

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