May 4, 2003

Flying home.

When ever I experience something spectacular I always fear that I will never be able to capture that event again. I always fear that I will never be able to share it with anyone else. I could write books and take pictures and tell stories but no matter how hard I try I can never get anyone else to see things how I have. My only hope is that as long as I keep trying it won't be a loss. Unfortunately things fade so fast when committed to memory that I forget things that had once made such an impact on my life. I am a creature composed not of my own experiences but on the effects they had.

I'm currently flying over Greneda Lake Mississippi and over the biggest thunderstorm I have ever seen. My plane left an hour and a half late due to weather. The pilot warned that there were storms ahead and we'd be heading due south so we could avoid them (Just for those who don't know I'm on my connecting flight from Salt Lake City heading towards New York.) and that it would take some extra time to get home. For our troubles they gave us the head sets to listen to the movie for free.

Turbulence has never bothered me (I find it kinda fun ironically.). When your flying (you can thank my 1 glider lesson for this - I just might take it up again I quite liked it.) you can think of it like your on a slice of air. When you're in a plane its a little different than a glider because you make your own force and you don't use gravity to propel you but the concept is the same. When your floating over the slice you'll hit ripples and currents just like you were in water. Planes have always put up with this and it won't cause any of them to crash or have their wings break off anymore then a wave would sink a boat. (In retrospect boats can be sunk by ripples and current but the bigger the boat harder it is. A jet plane is a pretty big boat so never fear.)

After the movie (Dare Devil) I went to the bathroom. On my way back to my seat I noticed some people watching something out the windows near the back. "What are we looking at?" I asked. "Take a look its amazing." I kneeled down (there are no seats in this area) and moved towards the window. The clouds were lightig up as they wisped by the wing. Cool but not amazing. As I got closer I saw a bolt of lightening arc through the sky below. It illuminated the sky and I could see the storm clouds blanket the city below and the country side for as far as I could see. You could see the clusters of lights through breaks in the storm. And we were just a small speck in the great sky above. "It kinda puts things in perspective." someone murmured. We watched a few more flashes in complete awe. We couldn't see if the lightening stuck the ground or arced across the sky only a glow that lit up the clouds all around. It was amazing. Eventually the others went back to their seats. I watched a little more as people passing by took glances at the night below. I got up and walked back to my seat.

It didn't take long to pass that storm but the turbulence is still rocking the plane subtly back and forth every so often. When we're not in clouds I can make out towns and cities below purely by the light they put out. I can see how streets follow the hills and rivers. How people chose where to live or where not to. I can even find people live far away from everyone else in the country side, even where their closest neighbor is. I had a professor that got his doctorate in global information systems. He could map any kind of data onto a satellite image. His thesis was on urban sprawl. From up here I can see why he finds it so interesting. With satellites you can get this view all the time.

(The turbulence is picking up - its quite hard to type.)

I should get home safely in another hour and a half. (Quite bumpy now!) I will see you all alter. (Ykes!)

-Francis © 2023
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