Musings of a roaming nature nerd

Thoughts in flight

Flying 39,000 feet above the earth, encapsulated in metal and artificially pressurized air, feels as unnatural as it gets. Yet flight somehow also brings us closer to the earth we soar above. My dear, longtime friend has spent many years as a pilot. He speaks of mind-blowing sunsets above the ever changing horizon; the immensity and the absolute smallness of our world as cities become fields and fields become forests in mere seconds.

Of course flying is not the most environmentally friendly form of travel and it also sadly shows us just how far we’ve encroached on ourselves. Rarely does a minute go by without a light, a building, a road somewhere in view. Our cities sprawl endlessly into each other in ways we can’t conceive of from the ground. Flight reveals a perspective on the earth that is heartbreaking, but also miraculously beautiful and unlike any other on earth.

I’ll avoid the endless cliches of humanity’s intrigue with flight, our timeless envy of those with wings as they fly and see what we can not. But I will admit to my own fascination and rediscovered connection with nature while in flight. A river flows from its mountain headwaters to a hazy disappearance at horizon’s edge. A snowy pine forest is illuminated by the light of a full moon. A colorful mosaic of fall foliage blankets the hills. Delicate ice crystals form from high altitude vapors on a cold dark window. With every ascent toward the clouds I feel that I have been given the chance to see the world again for the first time. The experience is like no other. Put down the magazine, turn off the ipod, peer out toward the closest window and think about the contradictions of the beauty and the sprawl, the finite boundlessness of the only world we have.

One Response

  1. Dad

    Loved the contradictions you captured! Nicely done. :-)

    July 28, 2011 at 8:03 am