Sunday, July 19, 2015

Window Seat


My idea of a plane these days is a combination of a movie theater, library and restaurant.
I’m most often on the aisle seat, with a bit more leg room and easy access to the bathrooms.
But on my flight from Denver to San Francisco, I had a window seat. And it helped me re-discover the miracle of flying.

I mean, think about it. It’s only been a hundred years in the 100,000 plus years of human evolution that people, with the exception of a few hardy mountain climbers, have the extraordinary possibility of seeing the world from above. And already we’re taking it for granted. We’re more interested in reading our John Grisham novel or watching The Avengers on the video than looking out the window.

We ascended through a thunderstormed Denver Airport and quickly found clear air. There below were the soldiered rows of houses turning to the squared and rectangled fields. But within those right angles were some unknown curves of plantings or mounded earth, just enough to bring some mystery to the predictable. Then into the rolling hills and snaking rivers and let’s face it, we are programmed somewhere deep inside for curves. I think the preferred images of women as subjects for paintings and photographs is not just to kick-start the male’s lust so the species can propagate. I think there’s an aesthetic preference for the curve over the straight line that women likewise appreciate. Whether it be in people’s bodies, Italian hill towns or the rolling foothills of the Rockies, they bring a pleasure to the eye.

Then to the sharper jags of the mountains laced with snow and always the clouds in the distance, above and below. We pay big money in Disneyland for a ride that would take us through such landscape, yet often let it pass unnoticed on our flight to wherever. Yes, as you level off at 35,000 feet, the details are harder to appreciate and then it does get dark and you’re grateful for the movie or your book. But next time you’re on a flight, look around and see how many of the window-seaters are enjoying the view.

 And so this entry is a note to self:

 “Get thee a window seat and spend some time looking out it.”

And look! There’s San Francisco!!!

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