Jul. 18th, 2010

plumgirl: (mountain)
There is a space between take off and cruising altitude on the plane that we all know as the ten-thousand foot "zone." Seatbelts on. Electronic devices off.

This is one of the few refuges left now from the electronic world that we have created for ourselves. It is the only time where several hundred people in a tin can hurtling in the sky voluntarily turn off digital anything/everything and are left to their own non-electronic devices.

It's amazing how sitting in a plane can give a picture of the world as it used to be -- when cell phones were still bricks, and computers never really were carried around.

Without those electronics, people make small chat with their neighbors, flip through a book or magazine, or pull out a crossword... or look outside the window as we climb over city and around the clouds.

Today was a particularly beautiful ten thousand foot journey.

This morning Atlanta was mired in fog -- we had nothing to see as we waited impatiently on the runway. Too much fog, meant more delays as we spaced out our takeoffs even further. We preoccupied ourselves with our little things, ... but as we began our much delayed climb, we turned wildly to swerve around thunderheads, people leaning uncomfortably in our seats, forcing us to look at the exposed puffy sides of these clouds, towering castles of their own in this gradually clearing sky.

It was one of life's perfect moments, us without the things we cling to, reminded of our precarious situation, and being faced with a cloud that could undo us. Ironically, it wa sa sight that I would have wanted to capture on film, but alas my camera is also now digital, and also subject to the 10000 foot rule.

Instead, I am left to writing about it now, trying feebly to recapture the image I saw in words. In the meantime the miles and miles of square plots stretching as far as I can see -- a mosaic of circles, squares, green and brown -- have been obscured by a sheet of white cloud, hiding the land beneath. I am 35997 feet in the air, hurtling west once again to where the temperatures are cooler and the waters are waiting.

At this altitude, the clouds underneath this plane look like nohthing but soft fluffy foam upon a light blue watery sea.

But all I can think about still is the earlier pull of the earth as we circled those towering masses, the clouds' dotted fingers reaching for us in the plane, saying "hello."


...


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October 2010

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