Clouds and clear sky

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.

Get Lindsey's thoughts on mindful living and parenting in your inbox


  1. Posted October 20, 2011 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    You so inspire me with how observant and thoughtful you are about life. Truly.

  2. Posted October 20, 2011 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    When I lived in Boise, often the inversion would set in. The microclimate of where the desert meets the mountains would sometimes cause endless days of cloud cover. One of the local companies, I think maybe HP or Micron, would fly employees over the cloud cover just to get a hit of sunshine.

  3. Posted October 20, 2011 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    I share your anxiety about delays. I keep telling myself that, like emotions), they are inevitable and I will probably have some bad ones in one out of every 10 trips or so. same with life — guess those are fairly good odds all around.

  4. Posted October 20, 2011 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Yes. Remembering the sun is there, through the clouds, is so important.

    I can just see you, quizzically looking through your airplane window, a portal to all things.

    (That Georgia O’Keeffe painting is one of my favorites, too.)


  5. Posted October 20, 2011 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Isn’t it just so wonderful? This is why I take so many photos of clouds from the space above. Just to remind myself, and others, that there is always light. It is one of my favorite things in this world.

    And delays, I am beginning to see, are often holding patterns, meant to give us time to reflect, to be sure that we arrive at the next spot at just the right time.

    Love this, Lindsey. Thank you.


  6. Posted October 20, 2011 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I love the idea that there is always a blue sky somewhere. What a beautiful realization.

  7. Posted October 20, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    My 8 yr. old son and I fly to Ohio this spring. As we were beginning our descent, he said very loudly, “Mom, look at these amazing clouds!” It was such a great moment. I’ve flown so often that I take it for granted. He reminded me what a miracle it is that we are up in the clouds, and how amazing they are, and how we need both sun and clouds for the beauty.

    Happy travels!