“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” – Albert Einstein

I stopped sitting in window seats on the airplane long ago.   One of the downsides of frequent business travel is that travel itself becomes more a focus on the destination and less about the journey. Like many pleasures that ultimately become your job, thing get routine and the lustre wears off.  After getting that hard-won elite status on a major airline, I am pretty much always guaranteed an aisle seat near the front of the plane, and since it is one of the few times that I can enjoy uninterrupted and guilt-free knitting sessions, I tend to put the earphones in, pull out the project bag, and don’t look up until we are well into the descent.

Recently, a site visit to a facility out west resulted in circumstances that forced me on to an airline I do not normally fly with.  No priority boarding or seating for me (I can hear your tiny hearts breaking for me, I really can).  I ended up mid-plane, sandwiched against the wall in a window seat just in front of the wing.  I was overtired and eyestrain and arthritis forced me to put my knitting away,  and my gaze fell outside and down.

There is so much of the country that passes unnoticed beneath me as I travel.  From heights too high to see houses, even in miniature, I used to watch the spiderweb patterns of roads and crop fields as I passed and my imagination built lives around that patchwork evidence of activity.   I watch the Rocky Mountains pass below me and I let my mind wander through pine passes, as I had done on family trips as a child, and I just wondered.   Below me,  it looked like the spine of the world, and my mind tried to grasp the scale of the Himalayas by comparison:

On the way home, I left my knitting and my books deliberately and let the tapestry of the world roll by beneath me and the drama of living play out in my head.  A forest fire outside of Albuquerque made me think of my great aunt, who spent the years of her life there, and who I never visited there even though she lived to be almost 100:

And the Grand Canyon,  where I inadvertently spent three days as a child when our truck broke down.  I never took a mule ride to the bottom.  It’s been on my to-do-before-I-die list ever since:

It look so much smaller from the air.  I remember standing at the rim as a child, and looking outward forever, feeling like I was suspended at the very edge of the world.

I guess, in a way, I was.

When we turn and we look beyond, and across, and away, we are standing at the outer edge of the world, no matter where we are.  There are always endless possibilities stretching out in front of us.

We only have to raise up our eyes.

July 15th, 2010 at 8:58 am
One Response to “A Glance Out the Window”
  1. 1
    Judith Wilkinson Says:

    “There are always endless possibilities stretching out in front of us.

    We only have to raise up our eyes.”

    Welcome back. I’ve missed your reflections. They help me slow down and think as well.