The Missouri River just south of Chamberlain, South Dakota (about 150 miles west of Sioux Falls).
In some part of my mind, I pleasurably anticipate travel. But I don’t like planning for an airline trip or packing for it. I don’t enjoy dealing with the virtual and physical gauntlet air travel forces us to run. I don’t relish facing the group unhappiness that greets you at the gate and accompanies you as long as you’re in the isolated world of your flight. No, I’m not enamored of any of that.
But from the moment the plane leaves the ground to the moment it touches down, it’s hours of visual poetry (assuming of course I have the window seat I want).
The approach to O’Hare, just west of the airport.
Flew back home last night, a flight that lifted off on O’Hare’s eastbound runway 9R at 6:35 p.m. CDT, circled north, then climbed into a long westering sunset and twilight. We had cloud cover most of the way, but got glimpses of the Fox River, the Rock River, and the Mississippi. More gliimpses: Iowa farms, the North Platte River, Interstate 25 north of Denver. Further west, saw Utah Lake and the cities of Provo and Orem in the dusk. Then mostly blank, dark countryside until we crested the Sierra Nevada, where the lights of the foothills and Central Valley, the Livermore Valley and the Bay Area, all shone.
My seven Chicago days went fast. My dad is prone to what I might euphemistically call confusion about some day-to-day events (a confusion that does not extend to all things, though. When we drive around Chicago, he’s generally pretty quick to answer requests for navigation help). I had told him I was leaving Thursday and reminded him of that a couple times before yesterday. I kept him abreast of my preparations to go yesterday. Still, he twice expressed surprise when I appeared with my suitcase and satchel and said I was heading out. “You are?” he said. “When are you coming back?”
“When would you like me to come back?” I asked. “Tomorrow!” he said. Soon, I hope. But today, here I sit, 1,836 air miles away.