September 29, 2015
San Francisco, CA
The seat belt clicks and I stash my book into the magazine pouch in front of me. The luggage compartment squeaks and rattles as travelers jostle their baggage to make room overhead. Newspapers crackle, and I can hear the soft whisper of passengers. The man next to me is already putting his eye mask on to sleep without even a friendly hello-nice aftershave though.
From across the aisle David, my husband, adjusts his headphones. He glances in my direction and smiles, but is already absorbed in his music– no one to disturb him. The pace of the last 48 hours, no, the last two months are all but forgotten to him. We chose to sit separately to have some space alone, listen to music, and read. He lives in the moment more than anyone I know which is both admirable and at times frustrating.
Surrounded by strangers, I suddenly feel isolated and a little scared, but also, at last, I am finally excited. It sinks in that we are really leaving. My first visit to France and another journey into the mysteries of India.
The engines roar and this gargantuan machine taxis down the runway lifting all these people into a cerulean sky. Airplanes have been doing this for seventy five years, but as it speeds up and finally lifts off the ground it’s still a miracle to me. The houses below grow smaller. The urgency of the leaves that need raking, the dripping faucets that need fixing shrink in importance. Miniature cars zip along freeways going somewhere, who knows where.
It seems impossible to eat breakfast in San Francisco today and in Paris tomorrow. We soar higher and higher into the blue stillness. The details that were so important are either handled or no longer important.
The beauty of any flight is leaving behind the complications of our stress-filled modern lives and that clear definition of who I think I am—all the I, me, mines. Everyday existence fades as if in a dream. I am a no one in a big world, and all I have to do is observe and accept all I see.
I can smell the coffee brewing in the galley, and a sigh of relief escapes my lips. A glimpse of freedom. The adventure begins.
“I’m a soul in wonder on the road unseen,” Van Morrison