Monday, May 24, 2004

(Un)Clear Landing

From the recollection of a moment yesterday...

I am nearing Newark Airport from the sky, sledding the glacial cloud banks of a storm front. The white, jagged puffs drop precipitously into an ominous blue-grey haze that obscures the countryside 20,000 feet below. Jagged is the approach that pulls the airplane around and level with the cloud line. A balanced proposition at this altitude - stay above the clouds and flirt with the pinkish sky full of dusk light or descend into the blue-grey abyss and hope little for a clear landing. The pilot chooses the latter option; five hours seems enough motivation to withstand a charge into the abyss.
In the distance, the sun electrifies the edge of a nondescript cloud, neon razor blade taunting the sky below, as if to suggest that the sun always reigns yet chooses the fates anyway of all below. There appears no such strong response from the abyss, only a murky pervasion that slinks to cover the earth. I will face its milky froth soon enough, onlooking from a window seat in the second row.
These are the images that I see from the plane this evening. I have no hope except for the clouds that frost the sky above the blue-grey mirage. I have no anticipation of another parade of people that I will soon meet - NYC, Chicago, SF, mayben even LA. Back and forth - I may just be experiencing inertia and fatigue.
Yet, in this state of even candor, I must admit the peculiar nature of my situation. So much hope for work, for school, for life, for love. I feel kinship with this moment as I reflect and peek out the window to see the sun's neon-orange globe now hanging like an omniscent eye in the middle of my view, in the middle of this crazy, uniform sky. It is clear and piercing directly on the horizon, staring at me. For the moment, extreme clarity, but a passing wonder. The sun intently stares back and ever so methodically drops itself like a magic trick into the soup of blue-grey haze. I smile - the moment has passed, and I was there.
Somehow beyond the watch of the sun, we land. Quiet allows only the polite whir of internal electrical systems to distract the plane's meander to the gate. The ground seems normal, except haze engulfs it and the sun is nowhere to be found.
The pilot finds his chance to turn right and point towards a gate. In time, the plane follows the pilot's command, there is a bit more shuffling, pause and muffle, then the lights turn up again. We have arrived at the destination, with a moment to pause and wonder about the world.
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