(written on May 30th, 2012)
Flying south towards Denver – there were tears in my eyes as we leapt into the sky, landing gear clunking up into the underbelly of the plane. The Mission Mountains, Evaro Hill, Flathead Lake, we could see them all as we ascended into the smokey late morning clouds where our mountains, our tribe, our Montana disappeared.
I’m always amused by the almost complete lack of wonder on the faces of fellow travelers when flying through the air, like there’s nothing new going on. The magazines and books come out, ear phones, food, ho hum. There’s not even a need to glance out the window. When I look deeper I see everyone’s internal landscape shifting, complex, a myriad of emotions and thoughts. There’s a mother across the aisle, an unhappy 2 year old in tow whose cries overshadow my music. The mother must feel terribly helpless unable to soothe her little one, stressed out to be that passenger with the crying child disturbing everyone.
Sure I’m stiff, sure I’m tired, sure my body is sore but I still love to travel. Airplanes, grumpy travelers, arrival and departure gates, porthole windows, tray tables, metal buckles, flotation devices, Sky Mall magazine – the whole deal. I’m starting to understand just how it works to be in charge of my own happiness. To not put my emotional fate in the lap of anyone else. I make this trip what it is for everything that it’s worth.
Departure gate C6 in the D.C airport. Soon to board. One more take off, one more landing. This time tomorrow we’ll be greeting the dark skies of Paris as the sun sets. When we sat down across from 2 frenchmen at the gate I excitedly whispered to Mike, “those guys are French,” then I paused and added, “we are so tourists.” France, the illusion, is getting more real.
In the air en route to Paris. A short 3,841 miles to go. We’re at 32,727 feet in altitude, it’s negative 40 degrees outside, so says my personal screen in front of me when I click on flight map. We’re going 616 mph in ground speed and heading north through Boston and Nova Scotia. I love maps. I love charting the course and seeing the progress. And I love that tomorrow we’ll hit the ground running.
I think it’s Thursday May 31st now – time blends over the ocean. We’re over Ireland now. Breakfast is being served, the smell of croissants fills the cabin and I just found out that Prince’s album 1999 is on my personal computer thing in the seat in front of me (which is awesome!). I got some fitful sleep but sleep nonetheless. It’s going to be a good day! T-minus 1 hour and 20 minutes to land.