Ahhh, standard travel picture out the airplane window…you’re welcome.
I am an apprehensive flyer. I will road trip anywhere, anytime with you, but flying…I like my feet on terra firma. Earth girl, through and through. Something to do with it being completely unnatural to be flying around in a metal tube – although, ironically, it’s all the laws of nature that make it possible to fly. Take off and landing involve a few breathing exercises and meditation.
In full disclosure, the last time I flew was 2-days before 9/11. THE 9/11. *It’s been that long.* I wasn’t all that thrilled about flying before then. Everyone has their own 9/11 story, and there are at least 2,977 people plus all of their families and friends that have unimaginably more terrible stories than mine, so I don’t want this post to be about that. But by a narrow window and a single “No thanks”, I ended up coming home on September 9th instead of September 11th. Mainly for the ridiculous reason that I wanted a day to do laundry and get my hair done before I went back to work. My flight home would not have been one of the flights, let me be clear about that. Odds are I would’ve have been grounded in Salt Lake City, completely broke at the time, which would have been
terrifying not fun. But “not fun” is still alive and unharmed. However, there is still a feeling that haunts me and makes my chest tighten knowing that a single decision about some laundry made such an impact on my experience. It’s little things sometimes. On 9/11, I listened to Eric’s phone ring over and over again through the day as people who knew I’d been traveling called him to see if I was home. Including my own sister, who, when I asked her later why she’d called Eric and not me, said “I was afraid you wouldn’t answer your phone.” Because then what? Things like that make an impression. So, terra firma.
But I’d like to travel more, so frankly, I need to get the hell over it. Just breathe.
Usually, once I get in the air, I’m fine. There is an acknowledgement I give that I am no longer in control of what happens to me once my feet are off the ground, and I just have to trust – everything. I relax a little. I breath normally. I actually like to look out the window. See the curve of the Earth. The blues and tans and greens. The places we’ve left wild and the way we humans have divided up so much into straight line grids, as if this planet doesn’t laugh at such notions every time a weather front moves through.
In one of the periods where my mind was contemplating wanting to travel, specifically to see the Reds play in St. Louis – a road trip, one of my brothers came to visit over Christmas and invited us to visit him in California, and not just show up, but really, just. show. up. He had a place to stay for us, would let us have his car to explore while we were there, and would even let Eric use his motorcycleS. Plural. My brother has nice toys. How can you not get your ass on a plan with an offer like that?!
I was thinking about my brother this morning. Part of what brought this photo to mind beyond that it was taken at the very, very start of our trip. More accurately, I was thinking, as I got out of my car in my office parking lot, how grateful I am that I don’t take much advice. Which is a weird thing to think, I know, but I gave up normal for some Lent years ago when I still believed in God and never took up the habit again- of God or normal. Even weirder that the thought brought my brother to mind, except that my family is like that, all STRONGLY independent spirits and detrimentally self-aware. None of us take or offer much in the way of advice – rather, we offer OBSERVATIONS.
My brother and I had some awesome conversations while I was in California – the kind where most people who don’t share your DNA just aren’t going to understand the context – and there were lots of observations. Particularly about the way my corporate thinking doesn’t fit at all into the way corporate people should think.
About my career.
About enjoying my life.
About really spending my time and energy the way I like to spend it. WHEN I like to spend it on such things.
A lot of observations to think about. A gratitude for not taking much of the advice I’ve been getting lately (none of which came from my brother) to be more corporate and to hide my way of thinking. Stifle myself. Keep my opinions quiet. Go with the flow. Don’t make waves. BE MORE NORMAL. Stay on the path, put on blinders. It’s funny how corporations will hire you for the way your thinking doesn’t fit in the standard size box, then spend the next few years trying to stuff you back into the standard size box. That, my friends, is an observation. Which brought me back to this picture and a quote that keeps playing through my mind:
“… the Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road.” ~ Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa
I love that quote. And so…the picture that makes me think of the curve of the Earth, and my own road down it.
Friends, we tend to fear the road we can’t see far down. We keep a white-knuckle grip on our blinders so we don’t have to fear change and opportunity. We can be like everyone else. Normal.
But if you aren’t willing to travel the path, to see how far the road goes, how do you know there isn’t a beautiful land on the other side of it?
Random Thursday observation for you.