I went to New York for work last Friday. It was a gray, rainy morning, dense with fog, and I sat in my seat on the airplane looking out of the small oval window stressing out about getting home that afternoon. I have enormous travel anxiety: not about safety while flying, but about weather. I fear- with an irrational ferocity – flights being delayed and canceled, not being able to get where I want to go (usually, home).
And then the plane lifted off, and we arced upward. Raindrops streaked down the windows at an angle that spoke of our steep ascent. It was gray and dark outside. And then, suddenly, full sunshine. Clear as a bell, and there were blue skies visible out across a thick carpet of fluffy white clouds. We were above the clouds, and I thought simultaneously of my favorite painting by Georgia O’Keeffe and of a particularly charming observation by Whit last summer.
We were stuck in a holding pattern above Laguardia for a while, but I was not bothered by it. I was transfixed by the clarity outside my window, by the simple, powerful truth that there is always blue sky somewhere. Above, below, or through the clouds. I have noted before that emotions are just clouds sliding across the sky of my mind, but while I find this metaphor poetic the truth is I often struggle to remember it.
Every time I am online in an airplane I vow to retain a sense of wonder about such a miracle. This time, I also swore to myself that I will try harder to keep the clouds – literal or metaphorical – in perspective.
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