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 Sometimes the most amazing things in life...

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Dec 18, 2001

...are the little things.


More diaries by Lint
Diary, eh?
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I may be a feminist

So I took one of the residents with whom I work to her weekly therapy appointment, which happens to be about 5 miles from our international airport. Usually I spend the hour trying to keep warm in the agency van, but today was a little special.

The weather must have been unusually strong high up, because the planes were flying unusually low. And I was smack-dab under their flight path. So rather than huddling up in the van, heat up high, I stood out in the wind staring up at the sky like a little kid, watching the planes.

I'm typically terrified of airplanes... flying, that is. I thought I had conquered most of that fear in August after a six leg, round-trip trek across the U.S. to meet my fiancÚ's family. But then there was Sept. 11th... of course. And as irrational as it is for me to fear flying based on what happened to those poor four airliners full of people, I know it will be very difficult for me to ever go up in the air again.

But this was different... this was almost intimate. As I stood staring up, a plane would fly over me--so slow. It seemed to be hovering, as if it could drop out of the air at any moment and fall down next to me. And so low that I could make out every detail of its underside. I felt like waving to the passengers inside, knowing that they could see me, as if telling them that they were almost there--wherever it is that they're coming from. They were safe. I nearly waved like a little child who waves at busses and trucks and boats and the like, until I had a very grown-up and self conscious moment and feared what others would think of me. I damned that grown-up part of me then, but I listened to it nevertheless.

And the plane would hover for a second more... then brake, with twin streamers of black smoke, and swoop off toward the airport. Then another came... then another.

And then I grew cold, so I retreated to the van and warmed up. And I thought. Something so ordinary and little as what had just happened instilled me with such wonder and joy for a brief moment, and I remembered what it was like to be a child again.

The last flight I took, on the way home from meeting my soon-to-be family, positioned me next to the Big Dipper. I looked over my sleeping fiancÚ and out the window, and there it was... riding shotgun. I stared at it and it stared back--and I had my first brush with the awesome impact of the hugeness of space. Being so high in the air yet so far away from what was floating next to my window... something so huge I could see it, yet so far away I would never reach it...made me feel my smallness. But it followed me home, nonetheless, and that somehow made me feel very safe and reassured. About what I'm still not sure. But it was beautiful.

Orion is also flying low and slow in the winter sky tonight, and that too somehow makes me feel safe.

Sometimes I think about the world and the universe and humanity and all and, instead of thinking about the negatives and scary parts and broken bits, I'm filled with awe. This is an incredible life we lead and an amazing place we call home.



nice... (none / 0) (#1)
by derek3000 on Tue Dec 18th, 2001 at 07:52:13 AM PST
It's hard to appreciate other people's moments of lucidity, at least for me, but I do know what you're talking about. Mine usually come when I'm listening to music with headphones and sitting on my balcony at night. You'll probably get a lot of cynical comments, though.

"Feel me when I bring it!" --Gay Jamie

Very cool. (none / 0) (#2)
by hauntedattics on Tue Dec 18th, 2001 at 08:47:34 AM PST
As a consultant who travels a good bit, I don't really have the luxury of being afraid of flying, but can understand it in others.

Thanks for sharing about the planes landing. I grew up outside of DC, and used to go sit on a field near National Airport and watch the planes land overhead. It was a great makeout spot as well.

I also find Orion very reassuring, and smile at the Moon a lot.

fascinating... (none / 0) (#3)
by nathan on Tue Dec 18th, 2001 at 10:03:26 AM PST people differ. When I have a moment like this, it's invariably connected to something musical.

I think this means I need to get out more and look at the stars.

Thanks for a nice diary.

Li'l Sis: Yo, that's a real grey area. Even by my lax standards.

I suggest... (none / 0) (#4)
by Lint on Tue Dec 18th, 2001 at 11:15:34 PM PST
...that you go have a good sit-down outside, late at night, while listening to this. Or maybe this. That's the funny thing about music... a different style or artist can change everything about the way you look at something. Holst's stars are not the same as Lennon's. But of course, those are just two suggestions... and I'm sure you have your own music. ;)

Stars are underrated. And constant, which is what I think I like about them the most. I considered astronomy as a career at one point in time, but I decided that once I got paid for doing it I might not love it as much. Just looking and not touching can be cool sometimes.

Thanks for the replies to my diary... and nice ones at that. ;)


Your denial is beneath you, and thanks to the use of hallucinogenic drugs, I see through you. Bill Hicks

star music (none / 0) (#5)
by nathan on Wed Dec 19th, 2001 at 04:19:52 AM PST
My favorite stellar music is probably Ysaye's Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 27 no. 5. (The star in question is the sun.) The last thing to knock me out of contention, though, was the Zander/Philharmonia recording of Mahler's 4th symphony, particularly in the last movement.

All the best,
Li'l Sis: Yo, that's a real grey area. Even by my lax standards.

you guys might like... (none / 0) (#6)
by derek3000 on Wed Dec 19th, 2001 at 07:11:10 AM PST
Godspeed you Black Emperor! -or- Mogwai.

From the first, I recommend Lift yr skinny fists like antennas to Heaven and from the second I recommend Rock Action. I know it sounds like it would be a motley crue record, but it's the complete opposite.

I wish I could get into classical music, but I just think that, with that type of music, I would want to appreciate intricacies and complexities, but jazz and its ideas on harmony satisfy that need for me. </Pretentiousness>

"Feel me when I bring it!" --Gay Jamie

Or... (none / 0) (#8)
by Lint on Thu Dec 20th, 2001 at 03:19:38 AM PST
you can have the best of both worlds. Or pretty darn good, anyway.

Thanks for the suggestions. I need more good music in my life (stuck in a Radiohead and Pixies loop for the last week).

Your denial is beneath you, and thanks to the use of hallucinogenic drugs, I see through you. Bill Hicks

St. Louis (none / 0) (#7)
by First Incision on Wed Dec 19th, 2001 at 04:04:08 PM PST
St. Louis has a little park right under the flight path of the airplanes. People bring their kids there, and sit at the picnic tables. What you describe sounds almost exactly the same.
Do you suffer from late-night hacking? Ask your doctor about Protonix.

Which is really strange (none / 0) (#9)
by Lint on Thu Dec 20th, 2001 at 03:21:35 AM PST
because I live in St. Louis. It is a small world after all.

I was more near the UMSL end of things (here to be exact, with one of the kids I work with), but still. Weird.

Your denial is beneath you, and thanks to the use of hallucinogenic drugs, I see through you. Bill Hicks


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