Capturing Clouds


In the past 12 hours, I have had two experiences that border on the miraculous. One, I took a cough drop and it actually stopped my cough. And two, I had a delightful flight home.

Yeah that’s right. I said delightful. I don’t use that word often because it has to be followed up with a lengthy excuse for using it. But if i’m talking about a “delightful flight home”, there’s gonna need to be some ‘splainin’ anyway…

I’ll set the scene:

Me. Back row. The row where you can’t lean your seat into the lap of the person behind you. Didn’t matter though, because I had the row all to myself.

It was a night time flight, so the cabin was dark and mellow. I wrote a few pages in my journal. I ate honey mustard snack mix and drank 7 up. I slept.

For the last 30 minutes of the flight, I was awake and unexpectedly alert. Out the window, in between the clouds, there was a small town glowing in the middle of nowhere. We lumbered on past it, into the dark again, with the rhythm of the blinking light at the end of the wing.

It was hypnotic. Seriously like a dream, made more extraordinary when we started weaving into and out of the clouds. Inside the clouds, the blinking light lit up like a spark catching fire, its light bursting out like a firecracker’s flash. We passed through a rain cloud of illuminated raindrops. They flew past like bullets in the opposite direction.

We left the cloud, floating into the most amazing sky I have ever seen. It was the realm of Zeus, a place that could have spawned an Italian renaissance centuries before its time. It was simultaneously surreal and real, a fictional landscape that was unquestionably there.

We cruised past blossoming mountains, with size and depth that were easy to understand. Dark gray cliffs rose above soft lakes of white, draining into the darkness of the blank land below. On occasion, the city lights beneath the surface turned the lakes into seas of gold. Holes poked through the clouds. Like an inverted sky below,  the ground twinkled with its own stars amid clustered galaxies of light.

And then we descended into clouds of our own. Absorbed. Digested. I had the realization that I wasn’t just looking at a picture. I was in it. I was a part of the scene. What a magical paradox. What a profound experience. Delight! This place was a final destination all its own. How ironic that this world was unquestionably real and alive, and I was the ghost, just passing through.

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