A mile high and still so low

It was my second flight coming back from Portland. Flying from Atlanta to New Orleans is about an hour and a half. Give or take. Not a long flight at all. However, in that short time, I found myself in a place only God can live and people can visit. For the briefest of moments, I wasn’t near anyone. I was alone and yet I was part of everyone all at once.


I have always wanted to be immune to humanity. I hate lines and groups. I hate traffic and crowded rooms. People are loud and inconsiderate. People give me the greatest of anxieties. People, human beings, are such beautiful creatures who cannot be defined or controlled. I love them as much as I hate them. However, I fear them just as much. Nature is nature, animals are animals, but people are pure insanity. And so am I.


I had been very lucky on that last flight. I had the middle seat and the one sitting on the aisle seat was by no means skinny. An old Yankee woman coming to New Orleans on vacation with a group of women. They were going to visit the restaurants all over the city. She was rude and snarky at first but became a bit friendly and quite after awhile. But this isn’t about her. It’s about my unusual good luck. All but one seat was taken up on the plane. The window seat next to me. That has been the only time I have ever been on an airplane that has resulted in good luck for me.


As we neared New Orleans the plane had to circle around into a holding pattern for a few minutes. The captain came on the intercom to explain way but I couldn’t understand him and didn’t care why. I raised the plastic visor for the first time and looked out the window. As the sun bounced off of Lake Pontchartrain and I could see the buildings in the distance, I felt so alone. I prayed at that moment I could have stepped outside of the plane and just sit there at that height and in that moment forever. I wanted so badly to be free of human existence and be like a cloud in the distance. Sitting, watching and being so truly free. A few minutes later, the plane landed and I had to be human again.


I wish I could describe better the way I felt for those few moments. It was a rare peace, a timelessness. Like Stonehenge or the Great Pyramids of Giza. No taxes, no term papers, nor mortgage, no hunger or thirst, no child support or parking tickets. It was just being. Timeless and fearless. I hope I can find that feeling again one day. I hope you do too. I was free of being human. I was alone and at peace all at once. I felt what I think free feels like or as free as anyone of us can be. Do you know what I mean?


Just imagine becoming the way you used to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind. The real you is loving, joyful, and free. The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun.

-Don Miguel Ruiz

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