The thing is, my favorite part about my New York trip was the plane rides to and back from New Jersey.
Before leaving for New York, I had never been in a plane before. In my earlier years, I would’ve shunned the idea. Being thousands of feet in the air? No sir. Yet as I’ve aged, I’ve slowly gained this urge to do new things, if only slightly. I was ready to ride a plane and was tired of feeling so much trepidation about it.
After loading our luggage, we waited in line to be scanned for weapons. Ah, security. What can one say about it these days? After going through this glass stand scanning me for metal, I grabbed my valuables and put my shoes back on. You couldn’t even walk through it with them on. When I had my stuff with me again, I had this funny sense that I had just lost my virginity.
After waiting for our plane to be called, we boarded and let some baggage guys hold my brother’s acoustic guitar. Then we found ourselves in this very narrow and tight line of seats. It was a much smaller compartment than I had realized. Videos of plane rides, how you deceived me! We sat and buckled up. My brother gave me the window and my mom sat in a single seat to herself.
We waited. And then, slowly but quite surely, the plane moved, circling the airstrip, waiting for other planes to take off in front of it. It began to pick up speed, its engines growing louder by the second. At that point in my life I had been so stressed due to work and the repetition of a small town that I was ready for a vacation. As the plane lifted high into the air, I felt both excited and incredibly comforted. I felt as if I was leaving the source of all my stress behind, that my body was being rescued from the power of duty and money, releasing me from the weariness of the common and setting me free to explore the unknown.
A black lady came and gave us some cokes to drink while the pilot announced our destination several times. Meanwhile, I was looking outside my window and seeing something I couldn’t quite prepare for.
The view. Perhaps one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life. The flat, brown, fall-ridden lands stretched across the bottom of the world below me like a colossal table made of wood. Except for the many white squares marking cars and buildings and the streaks of light blue rivers coursing like snakes into grey lakes. Eventually the lakes grew and became oceans. I could see white cruise liners sail the waters, and the closer we got to the Big Apple, the more we could see the buildings of Manhattan stacked next to each other like a kindergardener’s play set. So beautiful was all that I saw, I could hardly turn my eyes away. I thought I was going to cry at one point, from sheer awe.
The plane slowly turned and twisted into the air. I had this thrilling fantasy of falling sideways and out of the plane, right down into the ocean or a group of houses one. Slower and slower it rode until it landed in a New Jersey airport.
When we left New York, I had the window view one more. This time, I looked to my left instead of my right. I saw no lands this time. Only the sky. Can I grasp what a serenity it was looking at those clouds stretching around a blue expanse? I doubt it. The more I looked, the more lost in wonder I was. My Facebook profile picture is the very sky I saw when I left New York. I had to have something to remember it by.
Seeing that blue sky, in all its serene array, and how mysterious it is, filled me with a sense of adventure all over again. How small am I compared to my world, much less my universe! It is one of those pleasures I have when I think of my significance in the world. Seeing Nature up front like that makes me feel blessed to be alive and being able to share in the experience of life. The musings of a poet, of course.
This is my last NY post. I wish I had more to share, but our trip was so fast that there is only so much a group of three can do. But we made the best of it. One of my favorite trips, by far.