Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What a Cloud Feels Like

Image by Leonardini

Yesterday, I stood on my porch and watched a plane leave its vapor trail in a small patch of blue sky. The gray clouds quickly swallowed it up and I momentarily envied the plane and its passengers their escape from the rain and drizzle below.

But then I thought back to our flight last weekend.

The trip was a last minute idea, and I remember smiling as I threw a few things into my travel bag. It was fun to imagine that we were embarking on a secret adventure, even though after thirty years of marriage, there are very few secrets between our family, our friends, and us.

No, this was not a secret trip. The dogs needed to be cared for, the kids told, and the neighbor’s help enlisted to keep an eye on things. But it was rather spontaneous, so it was easy to feel adventurous as we boarded the plane.

One of my favorite things about flying is the point on takeoff when the landing gear retracts. As the plane lumbers and shudders down the runway, suddenly the air feels silky and smooth as the ground seems to retreat and familiar landscapes become smaller and smaller.

We rose into the cottony clouds and I had the irresistible desire to stretch my hands out of the window like I used to do as a child while riding in the family car. I want to know what a cloud feels like. Soft? Damp? Substantive? Feathery? Unless I take up skydiving or hot-air ballooning, I suspect that I’ll never know.

We broke through the cottony layer into brilliant sunshine. Ahhh. I knew you were up there, Mr. Sun. But I haven’t seen your smiling face in ages. I mentally ticked off the names of the Cascade Mountains as we passed their peaks piercing the cloud layer. Rainier, St. Helens, Hood, Adams, Jefferson, Bachelor, Sisters, Shasta....I wasn’t sure of the others we passed.

After a few days of hot and dry dry dry weather, Mr. Sun lost some of his appeal as my eyes began to feel more like sandpaper, and my mouth felt as cottony as those clouds back home looked. I drank water constantly, but I simply couldn’t rehydrate myself. Even though we had thoroughly enjoyed our weekend away, I boarded our flight for home eagerly.

I watched as the cloud layer gradually re-formed below the plane and recognized the familiar mountain peaks appear in reverse order. We descended through a lovely thick layer of white and grey with raindrops splashing the airplane window. 

As we walked to our car after landing, I waved my hands through the air. Can you feel the difference? I asked John. The air feels soft. Refreshing. Soothing. Renewing

The air felt like a cloud.  

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