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Closed and Open Jet Shades

No landscape. No caricature of faces in wheat fields. No elevated snow caps like glistening sprinkles on neapolitan ice cream, lavender spanning the lower edges. No clouds sprouting puffies looking good enough to eat. No careful sculpturing of uneven landscape. No sense of being at 36,000 feet except for a bit of cabin air blowing in our faces carrying faint smells and the purportedly purified breath of those in flight.

On the first leg of the journey, our chosen seats B and C, Mr. A never raised his shade during the 4.5 hour trip. Not once. He fixated on a movie and a double scotch.

On the return flight home, our chosen seats D and E, Ms. F never raised her shade during the 4 hour trip. Not once. She fixated on a movie and purified water.

I wondered for quite some time what would draw people away from the very best moving movie on the planet. Were these two individuals attempting to get lost in fantasy to avoid reality? Perhaps it really had to do with glare on their screens! But, no, it was something much deeper.

Mr. A needed to relax, and viewing the outer space might increase his anxiety. His had been a long and tedious trip to the east coast on business with no direct flights from Rhode Island to Seattle.

Ms. F was more of an enigma to me until I noted the lymphedema sleeve on her left arm with added tattoos. Perhaps she needed to escape as well, forgetting about the time she almost lost “the battle” more than 20 years ago. Life was no longer focused on staying alive. She no longer needed to obsess about the deeper things of life. She was simply grateful to be alive.

I’m still chagrined that neither of these two realized that the best show was out the window! The expanse of life--some fringed with green and gold and sadly, others burning around the edges. Where else do we get a look at our planet in motion except through pictures and the windows of a plane?

Do we shy away from contemplating our place on this planet by closing the shades in our lives? What are we afraid to see, experience, hear? Is it because we are stuck in the practicalities of life? Perhaps we think we have no time for the frivolities of mystical or metaphorical thinking. Maybe we are quite pleased with what we have and avoid moving further into the depths of life.

The next time you take a flight, open the shade (if you have secured a window seat). Allow your mind to wander and experience the awe of what you see. Let the peace of gratitude fill your soul. Encourage your heart to open to the good things it craves.


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