“And the voice spoke even more deliberately: ‘…but remember what is under the ocean of clouds: eternity.’
And suddenly that tranquil world, the world of such simple harmony that you discover as you rise above the clouds, took on an unfamiliar quality in my eyes. All that gentleness became a trap. In my mind’s eye I saw that vast white trap laid out, right under my feet. Beneath it reigned neither the restlessness of men nor the living tumult and motion of cities, as one might have thought, but a silence that was even more absolute, a more final peace. That viscous whiteness was turning before my eyes into the boundary between the real and the unreal, between the known and the unknowable. And I was already beginning to sense that a spectacle has no meaning except when seen through a culture, a civilization, a professional craft.”
I am not such a fan of plane travel. It puzzles me how a large, heavy, motorized tin can structure can trick the elements to soar. I am skeptical of the physics. There are rituals, I hold to. I listen to the little things like the sounds of the engines. Are they humming through scales as smoothly and effortlessly as a master conductor guides an orchestra? I want to view the pilot, the uniform. Is it crisp, polished? The pattering steps I hear scampering the ramp. Are they solid, confident? The last pilot scooted through the parking lot seated on top a unicycle. Flare mixed with spunk.
I want some spark, some attitude in my pilot.
Once on the plane , I fall back into the seat and cross my fingers. The engines warm up as they pace through the tests. We taxi the runway. The engine’s thrust pulls, slowly, then faster and faster, until we meet the bump that lifts the metal dream ship, wavering for a second, fighting with the wind, finally pushing skyward. I pray to Sky God cradle me. Air borne. The familiar everyday further behind us. My eyes turn skyward. I pause, silent.
Rocketed, climbing higher, pushing through layers of batting. Mastering the elements, we pass through stormy, wispy white layers. The earth below appears far away, the roof tops disappear, insignificant. The landscape spreads like a quilt. “Rest,” the sky whispers. “Dream.”
Glancing through the arched window I glimpse a spectacular stage. There is such glory to behold. Emerald green patches of land sparkle below, the glaciered prominence of a mountain’s summit, the mix of watery blues edging the greens and inky blues of painted skies. I imagine wings. Glorious wings to fly.
It is peaceful here. Pressing a cheek to the window’s glass, the chill seeps in, penetrates my skin. I press my eyes to sleep. Oh to be winged, soaring through the wispy clouds, playful, peeking from a fluffy mound of snow white piled high. Who goes there? Winged archangels, chubby cherubs, old souls.
Glorious, gone. Home. Now I walk the earth with my eyes turned skyward.
Anna G. Watson
~ educator, aspiring writer, simple design and style