Reflections on a plane.

8 May

Always always if you can, choose to sit next to the window on planes. On my most recent journey, I couldn’t quite believe how much of a difference it makes to the experience of travelling. Particularly as you are taking off, and you see the city you are leaving become smaller and smaller. Quite literally, and visually beautifully, taking a step back and putting it all into perspective. Then as you fly, peering down on all the areas of inhabited and non-inhabited land, knowing that you are looking over actual individuals like you, sleeping, eating, working, socialising, struggling. Yet you fly over them in less than a second, just as important as you, just as unimportant as you.  And then being on the same level as the horizon, seeing the actual curve of the earth, and the painfully beautiful range of colours that fill the sky as the sun sets, so often obscured by the clouds and the grey buildings that imprison us.

 The visual extremities knocked me out, and then I remembered that I was up in the air in a metal tube, which lead to the most terrifying realisation of my utter frailty and vulnerability, removed from all the securities that keep me emotionally and physically safe in my everyday life. I wish I could say that that it changes your life, but unfortunately unless its a near-death experience, I don’t think moments can change your life. But still, that moment of complete awareness of the self in relation to the world and my Creator is in itself as worthy as the long-term effect of any life-changing experience. I am quite sure that I reached a mental state that people take drugs for. While I was in this transcendent mood, my dad leaned over to me and whispered, “You know, you should be a pilot”. I wondered how he knew I was having a philosophical moment and was thinking of how to prolong it. 

“There are no other planes you might bump into” (I have been known to almost do this to other cars.)

“There are no kerbs you would go on” (I have been known to do this in my car.)

“There are no people you might hit” (I have been terrified I will do this with my car.)

…moment was over.

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