Traveling always kicks me out of the norm, and I love it. I love watching people at the airport. I love walking briskly down the long, wide halls of the airport. I love modern airports with lots of glass and steel. I love the people movers and the flight crews in their matching professional attire, the diverse people, a new languages heard every few yards.
But perhaps my favorite part about the act of traveling is the window seat. I could look at the clouds just a few dozen feet away for days. They mesmerize me. At the same time, flying when the skies are clear, and you can see all the way to the fields and roads and houses and trees and mountains and rivers below – that is also a wonder.
On my way to Vancouver Wednesday, it was cloudy for a while. I was engrossed in a novel, The Dive from Claussen’s Pier (recommended to all novel-lovers let me add) and the clouds were a bit thick and uniform. But toward the end of the flight, I had finished the novel and had nothing else to hold my interest but the view. And quite a view it was – this seemingly endless range of the northern Rocky Mountains, the vista all black and white against the clear blue sky. Snow tossed across the tops of the charcoal mountains, covering the highest peaks, no sign of human life or interference for as far as those of us in that airplane could see.
The window seat is a time for me to ponder how big the world is, how small I am, to get outside of the normal, the day-to-day – driving, going to work, cooking, gardening, hanging out with my husband and family and friends. Those things are good (except driving, I hate driving), but for whatever reason, the act of travel is a de-stressor for me. Besides the occasional combination of carrying my laptop and being in an airport with free wireless, it’s a time away from e-mail and communication and the demands of anyone else. I know I’ve just outed myself as a solo traveler who doesn’t carry a high-tech phone or blackberry, that’s okay for me.
I’ve flown countless times, and it still amazes me. I’m only scared just after take-off. For some reason I think I might die in a plane that malfunctions during take-off and crashes into the ground a half-mile from the runway, but so far so good. Once we’ve been in the air a few minutes, my eyes are glued to what is out there. A big city I’ve never been to, a unique landscape, distant hills, an unusually shaped building or field below. Today, passing over what was probably northern Colorado or perhaps Idaho, I noticed so many perfectly round, green fields, in the midst of dry, brown-tan ones. I tried to figure out how that circle was perfectly green. I also watch rivers, and wonder about their name, about where they start and end, and try to remember to google map them when I get home. I usually don’t remember to do that.
Well, I’m writing this from the Denver airport, but I can’t post it until I get home, maybe tomorrow. No Wi-fi here (sigh). But that gives me more time to walk, wait for my delayed flight home and take in the people and the buzz of the airport.