Modern Travel. Airports. Airplanes. Delays. Bad food. Expensive food. Missed connection. A flight delay so long that I actually had time to eat dinner and drink a glass of Layer Cake Shiraz (that was top of the line for the airport restaurant wine list). A bit of a comfort, but I was still in the Dallas-Forth Worth airport. So only a bit….
I knew I would arrive at my doorstep around midnight. I was so tired that tears were about to make my mascara run. I boarded the dimly lit airplane for my final leg of the trip, sat in a window seat, and stared out at the rain-shimmering tarmac. The plane’s taxi from the gate to the runway lasted longer than the car ride home would last. Or so it seemed.
Finally, we left the ground.
I stared out the dark window at nothing, because that’s all I wanted to see. But then I saw something extraordinary. Amidst the routine, bland experience of a passenger flying on a commercial jetliner, I became level with the starry sky.
We rose above the thick cloud cover, which, illuminated from below by city lights, glowed faintly like a shrouded dimly-lit display cabinet in a dark restaurant. A ribbon of darkness at eye level, glowing grey cotton below. Surreal. Then I saw some pinpoints of light. Other airplanes, I thought. But the pinpoints became more numerous.
I could see Orion’s Belt.
Here I was, soaring through the night sky looking at the stars as if I were Superman or a child in a storybook flying to the moon or climbing a ladder to the diamond-infested sky like Mary Poppins did in the original book series.
I was distracted from my self-indulgent thoughts by the sight. I wished I could fly unencumbered by fuselage and the light pollution from within. So I made an impossible promise to myself: never take anything for granted in this tremendously complicated world.
” Never” is a ridiculous word, but I will give it a go.