thoughts from 35,000 feet

No matter how often I fly, I remain in awe of the fact that humans have mastered the art of airborne travel. The fact that I can be in San Francisco one minute and in Denver just three short hours later floors me. And the only thing I have to do is take off my shoes before boarding.

I understand that flying is not a novel idea. It has been well over a century since the Wright brothers made the first recorded, sustained flight. However, the actual concept of  how we are able to defy gravity by thrusting several ton metal boats into the air and travel long distances is beyond me.

Sidenote: No, I am not asking for a scientific explanation of how it all works. In truth, the mechanism has been explained to me – in great length – several times already. I just like to think of it as magic.

Back to flying …  Friday morning I boarded a Southwest flight at SFO to Denver for my first trip to Colorado. (I don’t think layovers at Denver airport count.) My plan was to visit three of my former teammates at Tufts who recently moved to the area. We had a scheduled stopover in Phoenix, and during the entire four hour  flight I watched the landscape shift from the rolling hills of the Bay Area to the high desert ridges and deep canyons of the Southwest. There were lakes below that I will never travel to. Roads I will never take. Places I will never go. And I love that.

Whenever I fly, it serves as a reminder of all I have yet to do and discover in this world. The experience is somewhat religious for me. (Aside from the silent praying I do during take off and landing.)  From high above I see the remains of glaciers and rivers that disappeared centuries ago. They have already made their marks and their fingerprints will long outlive my bones. Looking out the window from 35,000 feet I am reminded of just how small my life is and how short my existence on this planet will be. Flying serves as reminder for me to make it count.

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