Friday, May 13, 2011

First Flight

I just finished searching a garden for glow worms.
No, this is not a typical end to a day in and around Paris. Our plane landed at Charles de Gaulle, 11:30 this morning. It was the second flight I had taken in my life. The first came hours earlier, a short two hour jaunt from Winnipeg to Chicago. A Canadair RJ: smaller and more outdated than most wooden roller-coasters. Yet despite, or perhaps because of, these faults, there was something magical about this first flight, something sublime. As we lifted off the runway, I could only think of how proud old Leonardo would be that this miracle could be achieved, how jealous it would make prince Rasselas, and how it would astound even Aristotle. This was so much on my mind that, when passing through that lowest level of cloud - and seeing the grey give way to vibrant white - I was almost surprised I did not find the other side filled with cherubim. Instead, a foul smell filled the cabin, and I saw a businessman put down his bag of cashews and clutch his stomach.
This, I believe, is the most unusual thing that most travelers would describe in recollecting a flight. There were not many people with window seats who even bothered to look out. Is it because, even 100 years after Kitty Hawk, we still don't deep down believe the physics of flight? Or do we have to ignore the strangeness in order to feel secure?

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