Getting comfortable at 35,000 feet

Phot by: Andrea Vincenzo Abbondanza

I’m high on a plane — 35,000 feet high that is, and cozy with my coffee and my book. I wasn’t always this comfortable flying.

My first flight, rosary beads so tight around my hands that my circulation was nearly cut off, a King James in my lap and nothing but a bunch of air between me and the ground, I closed my eyes and promised God a million promises to just let me land safely. The only connection I had with the Earth was my thoughts that seemed to engage the core even as I sped high above the plains.

From that take-off, the pertinence of movement was clear to me. My life and that of my family’s travelling with me, depended on the thrust of the plane’s engine. In order to stay in flight, the 747 had to maintain 540 miles per hour — too slow and we would drop right out of the sky.

Although not as casually as I am now, I did drink coffee then too, and that of course meant I had to pee. I remember trying to tinkle that first time as I imagined all the people on all the planes zooming across the skies who were peeing right then too, and thinking when I was on the ground again and looking up at the traffic how amusing the scenario would be.

The principle of movement motivates me to live a fluid life. Even when gravity is anchoring my feet to the ground, my thoughts propel me forward. Sometimes I’m crawling. Sometimes I’m mach 10, but I’m always jetting ahead so I won’t crash.

So, as I witness the dazzling Pacific Ocean passing far beneath my birds-eye view, I sip my Folger’s, knowing that the one whose eye is on the sparrow will be the one determining my final nose-dive.

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