Tuesday, July 26, 2011

in the air

After all the waiting and sitting and standing in lines, the moment the plane begins to roll down the runway, I would grip my husbands hand...usually with him unconscious and drooling from a corner of his mouth...close my eyes and, feel the earth disappear from under the plane and let go!

The moment I feel the plane lift into the air, I for some reason physically flex every muscle in my body from my head to my feet, probably with a constipated look on my face and always the same random thought in my head..."do I have everything?  Well, if I don't, it's too late now!"

Lifting into the air, away from every thought, concern, worry, problem, that I might have had a few seconds/minutes/hours prior.  Where ever we just were, for better or worse, there is no going back.

The second thought I have is also always the same...

Am I going to die today?
.....I guess it's not such a bad way to go.

I begin to let go of the control over my present and future, I'm completely aware of how weightless I am in every sense.  There's no more planning for where we may be heading.  No more packing and preparing...just hours of time to catch up on random chick flicks and consume the small square of questionable gooey pasta and chicken in front of me with a plastic spork...

I'm kind of afraid of flying, but the excitement of landing in a place totally different is for me worth facing the fear.  I secretly love flipping between 15 different feature films and getting refills of wine and juice every 20 minutes.  I love scanning the airline magazines and watching the carts of food, beverage and duty free roll by.  Once in a while I take a look around at my fellow travelers and make up the stories of their lives...off to a business conference, first trip overseas, returning to their childhood home..all based upon how many mini booze bottles are purchased and whether or not they consume their bread and butter or crackers and cheese.  Did they come prepared with travel pillow?  All of our lives are temporarily paused in midair together connected only by rows of seats with little t.v.'s and matching blankets....we are all equally powerless in our current state of affairs....whatever we are in our normal lives, we are temporarily helpless passengers with our shoes off snoring in public....if a plane is public? Or is it more of a hotel room shared by 200 people....the one place I feel comfortable brushing my teeth while sitting next to a stranger.

When we begin the descent, my eyes are glued out the window as the plane begins to shake and turn to odd degrees, blurring the view of the ground with an occasional wing.  Sometimes, I imagine that it's only a similator and we're simply waiting for the movie out the window to finish.  What color is the ground?  Are their mountains, rivers, trees?  I love watching the cars driving along at night below us like little ants with light bulbs for eyes....I wonder if they are looking up at me looking down at them....

Then we're landing and once again, I'm grasping a fist in a sweaty ball, squinting my eyes closed and hoping  for a clean and easy landing, which it almost always is....almost there, almost there, just a few more minutes and we'll be back on land...back to the reality of life and all it's little details...finding food, changing clothes, sleeping in beds....none of it as thrilling as those hours spent surrounded by clouds, dreaming about the what ifs with no control over anything accept which preview to watch next...those are the only moments, in between realities, that I feel completely allowed to do and think of nothing, because there's nothing else to do but that, breathing, thinking, watching, listening...to just be.

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