On the way home, our plane glided smoothly over the vast expanse of ocean hundreds of miles beneath us. Cold, dark waves rippled far below and, every so often, the tiny speck of a cargo ship or barge would slide by. The water peeked through the dense blanket of clouds separating atmosphere from sky, and I felt isolated from my terrestrial identity. The warmth of earth was so far away. I touched the cold, plastic windowpane and shivered.
From my perch in 22C, I could see the little plane flying below us. Silently following, it slid between the clouds, dodging the shadow we created. Together, we flew with the sun, delaying and prolonging the sunset, and the rays of lights doused the clouds in glowing hues of orange and purple. A three-and-a-half hour long sunset.
No road signs grace the heavens. A pilot cannot rely on mile-markers or the names of highways to lead him. High above the earth, he uses radar to guide his massive metal machine to destinations beyond the horizon and across expanses of time. In a skillful blend of art and science, he soars above the earth.
Existence is peaceful five hundred miles above the earth. It doesn't really matter what is happening far below; what wars are being fought, what conflicts are being resolved, what the headline news happens to be, the price of tea in China...nothing really matters. It's just you, the clouds and the sound of sleeping people and recycled air. Just as I love lying on my surfboard, out in the ocean, far beyond the crashing waves...quietly gliding through the air, far above any earthly care, is equally as calming.
And as the world spun madly on...
...I closed my eyes and sighed.