Touching the Sky

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I used to be afraid to fly and one pre-flight drink was not enough, the conservative dose of alcohol merely dulling the anticipatory panic that this would be a ‘bad’ flight, where I would lose my grip on reality and be that person freaking out on the plane. But then your fingers found mine and I went within, deeper and more intensely than I ever have before because there was this infinite world as big as the universe inside me. This time, it didn’t need to be filled because nothing could possibly fill it, ever. So I remember that soft, grounding touch and now I look out of the window, with interest and an eye for a great photograph from the plane windows. I see the land, the clouds, and feel the rocking motion that is both terrifying and beautiful.

Humans are not supposed to be up here, in the air, but humans are not supposed to shut themselves off into iPod cocoons either. But we do. It’s worse in New York; I am apt to forget those light, sensitive fingers, but really, I haven’t lost he memory of them any more than I will ever really lose the sensation of being above, looking at the physical, spotting breaks in the clouds and permitting myself to enjoy how vast everything is, and simultaneously how everything is so small.

Or rather, we are so small. We are trying to make sense of this planet, below. Those lakes and rivers and hills we ignore and ruin, which would just like a bit of kindness, but so few know how to provide that true kindness, outside of themselves.

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Now when I fly, I look out of the window, full appreciating whatever ends up without the aircraft and below. Within my self, there are always so many sensations: the nicotine heady rush of takeoff that sends currents along the meridians of my body, the sickening, unsettling feel of landing, and the floating lack of stability that comes with turbulence. I was once afraid of falling, of dropping suddenly without warning, without notice, without an end. I was afraid of what I couldn’t see and how my body would seize up and tense, and that old friend Anxiety scratching at my ribs and clawing at that sensitive part in the middle of my chest. I was afraid of losing, forgetting, and pain, up here in this alien, dry environment with it’s unnatural air and the enforced incarceration for the journey’s duration.

In reality, The land below and the teardrop of beauty that comes with air travel is elegant and stunning. The light gliding and soaring motion is not to be feared any more than letting that last hand clasp go, because you eventually learn to trust or die. And I choose trust, and my reciprocal, steady, sure grip. I choose continued curiosity, the neverending panorama of country and sea, and that mysterious, outstanding emptiness and fullness, both in balance, for neither have no beginning, no end: they simply ‘are.’

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