We flew to Mexico yesterday. We lifted out of Kennedy at 8am and watched as the rising, transcendent New York City turned and spun in a white summer-like (only winter, certainly winter) mist-shrouded morning. There was no pain or yearning in that Tuesday morning city; no garbage in the streets; no chain-link fences, no neglected kids nor elderly waiting for a bus in the freezing cold. Its swelling, placid rivers still carried ancient ships; oysters still clustered its serene, still harbor. Its silence was still pure.
We had a quick lay-over in Atlanta and boarded priority to Cancun. The flight wasn't full. I had my own row. I've flown several times this month, uncharactistically these days, and each time I've spent most of the trip gazing out of the window. I absolutely understand my life and the world from here, which is rare, and nice. The ocean is the sky. My God these spelndid mountains; this awesome deserts, these seas so pristine and aqua-blue. Clouds cross below me casting shadows on the water. Even the suburbs don't offend. Everything is fine on, and with, the earth. The world is manageable. I spend hours gazing out like this and dreaming and planning my life. I see everything clearly; I can do anything.
Pregnant with Liv, I flew back from Africa and passed over my cousin dying of cancer below. I saw the lights of that little hospital town but not the details. The details were enveloped in winter darkness from here, like looking down on Bethlehem. Over Denver once, the friend with the abusive husband is having a dry martini and laughing, laughing among that row of main-drag street lights. The cruel divorce in LA is neat and organized into silver, glistening squares I can count in the afternoon descent. The man who bet everything and lost is a vast expanse of afternoon in western Colorado. Norway is edible. Uganda is a carpet of bouganville and jasmine, no people pissing, starving, begging, no AIDS, no rape.
I'm going to tell you something: 35,000 feet up is where I am invicible and complete. Maybe because it's all magic up there, or maybe because I (the daughter of a pilot) lived in the sky for 18 years. Growing up in the airpine community, it was a bit transcendent. We were tribal, encapusulated in our a silver ship, detached from the world and above it all. Lulled by the roar of the engines that contiunally propelled us ahead. Weightless and reassuring ourselves that it would last forever.