Sunday, April 27, 2008

Image and Word Link Us at Umpteen-Thousand Feet by Kat Magendie

Because I’ll soon be flying the overly crowded skies amidst warnings of chaos, I want to recall the last time I flew—from Portland, Oregon where I’d visited my son, back home to North Carolina. What luck! I had the two seats all to myself, a relished luxury I appreciated. Exhausted from my great trip, I dozed, and when I again opened my eyes, colors ripped through a charcoal-threaded darkening sky. As it became full dark, I watched the towns below light up. Those lights signaled life and people, some crowded and full and others tiny dots of tiny towns. Behind me, two women spoke a foreign language, a lyrical beautiful sound. I lay my head against the cool glass and listened to a conversation I could not understand. But then, what is this? With a flashing burst of color, the women and I were linked when we said the same word in the same awed way, "Fireworks…"

Below us the colors burst in a raining arc. A town celebrating! I imagined a parade; hotdogs, hamburgers, big salty pretzels, cold cokes that leave that burning feeling in the back of the throat; the high school band playing badly but no one cares, for the little town has sons and daughters marching; and the fathers with small children bouncing on their shoulders, pointing to floats and clowns and bright-colored confetti; and then as the evening darkens, the first burst of colored light blazes in the sky with a Boom!, and the sighs and oohs and aahs of the people follow. The bursts become faster and bigger and louder, and that is when our airplane passes over, and within all of our unknown words is our uniting one: Fireworks!

I pointed with my index finger, the pad pressing against the glass. Our shared experience, the link of our language from the image below. Then, together, we repeated, “Fireworks..." I never want to forget. It was the only time I was grateful to be flying in a tin can high above my Earth. I blew a kiss to the town below, thanking them for sending us their message, one that bound strangers together in the language of joy and color and blazing sparkled light.

4 comments:

Nannette Croce said...

A pleasant flying story. It's been a while.

Kerry Conway said...

I am going to be flying from Michigan to Boston, in June with the girls. I am looking forward to our traveling adventure.

I can still remember the good old days...When we were allowed to enter the captains quarters, and take pictures with the pilots. Times have changes, and not for the better...

Angie Ledbetter said...

What a great experience that must've been. (Still not enough to get me excited about a "tin can" trip...but nice to visualize.) ;)

Kathryn Magendie said...

Kerry, et al...I am a Hater of Flying....yes...I am ...the more I do it, the less fearful I am, but not by much, instead perhaps I'd say I am "resigned" more than less fearful *laugh*...

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