Wed, 21 Sep 2011 19:17:17 +0000
I am on a plane somewhere above North Carolina. The man beside me is staring out the window. He has not stopped staring at the clouds. He has gasped multiple times. He is wearing a Charlotte Bobcats hat.
Also, he lacks eye brows.
I will write about him.
The flight attendant offers him a drink. Finally his eyes peel from the window. “Orange juice,” he says.
He leans over me to receive the drink. He looks at me and smiles, so I say, “Seen anything nice out there?”
He says it is all amazing. He says, “This is breathtaking.”
This is his first flight. He has never left North Carolina. He has been looking forward to this his whole life.
“Isn’t it amazing,” he says, “that human beings have the ability to see Earth from this viewpoint?”
In ancient times, these views were only possible from mountaintops. Even then, the feeling of awe was hard to come by. So sometimes they built massive structures -- cathedrals, for example. And inside those cathedrals, with hymns vibrating the soul, the mind could perceive the world differently.
He is still looking out the window. He says the clouds look like islands in the sky. They look like boundless puffs of softness. “Can’t you just imagine sleeping on that peak?” he says.
Of course I can. You can too. Because we all had that thought, albeit briefly. But then we were taught it is not possible (which is a good thing.) We were taught that we’d fall right through. Or, if you were really smart, you figured it out when the airplane smashed into the cloud surface, only to glide through without resistence.
The plane descends. The man looks to me: “Imagine what viewpoints humans will have in 200 years. It will be spectacular.”
I say, “It’s a shame we won’t be able to see it.”
He says, “Yeah. But I think the feeling might be the same.”
“So,” I ask, “How come you haven’t been on a plane your whole life?”
“I’ve been sick most of my life,” he says.
“And you’re better now?”
“Naw,” he says, smiling.