After a long day of meetings crowned by the chaos of Dulles, I’m happy just to sit, captive in the cramped cabin of this United Airlines jet. We’re stuck waiting on the airport runway, for what we’re not sure. The drone of the mighty engine lulls me, drowning out echoes of the day. I’m headed home, grateful, tired, resigned to my narrow seat, buckled in, the tray table in it’s upright and locked position. I glance at the tattered inflight magazine, the patch of vermillion sunset over the left wing.

After a hot and stuffy 20 minutes, we finally taxi for take off and my stomach drops, as it always does that moment when the plane lurches, impossibly, skyward. As it did two and a half months ago when I picked up the phone to hear my sister say “The neurologist says ALS.”

Soon the plane’s steep climb levels off, the shrill engine screech gives way to a dull hum, and my anxiety dissipates. I settle in, relax, relinquish the control that I never had in the first place. I read the paper at  24,000 feet as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Forget the wonder and awe that I can wake up in SC, go to DC for a meeting then be home for supper. Forget the stunning reality of how much can change in a day.

I’m headed home, soaring into the night’s darkness. Below me, lights of the city sing like an over-the-top holiday display. Onward at jet speed, above and beyond these dazzling grounded galaxies, these million little Bethlehems.  A twinkling wonderland of awe, worry, hope.

~ stephanie

~ by Stephanie on 12/19/2009.

3 Responses to “aerial.lights.sing”

  1. What a great connection…onward at jet speed.

  2. Beautiful images that so capture the feeling of flight, both literal and figurative.

  3. To SHW and SWH: what a powerful, radiant response to A.L.S is your collaboration. A. Luminous. Site. I’ll revisit often to read these grace notes….

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