One weekend this summer, Matt and I flew from Boston to Nantucket. I happen to love small planes, and flight in general. I had a new understanding of this latent passion of mine, incidentally, sitting at my grandfather’s funeral a couple of weeks ago. As we sang the Navy hymn, which we also sang at my maternal grandfather’s funeral, I realized that one of my grandfathers designed airplanes and one was a pilot. They were both sailors. I think I come by interest in the air and sea honestly.
For some reason, that late-August flight precipitated a spiritual moment. I gazed down from the small plane’s window and realized, with unexpected, gasp-of-breath power: This is my life.
I am inside my own life. This life: terrifying and technicolor, messy and mundane, this string of days full of noise and tears and startling, unexpected beauty.
Perhaps equally as importantly: I love it. Maybe more importantly. I love this life. With a deep sense of serenity that was both unfamiliar and enormously welcome sinking into my bones, I looked out the window of the 8-seater plane at Nantucket Sound and exhaled. Spread below me were the placid, gray-blue waters I’ve sailed so many times, dotted with dark green foliage-furred and yellow sand-edged slices of land. This is where I come from, a voice in my head said. Cape Cod. Falmouth. The Elizabeth Islands. Martha’s Vineyard. And, ahead, Nantucket.
Memories of each place rolled through me and I had a sensation of disbelief that the vivid film reel I’m watching is not visible to the outside observer. I exhaled and leaned my head back against the small seat, watching the patchwork symphony of blues beneath me. I let the feeling of ease spread through me and hoped that I could hold onto it. I think it was contentment.
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