There was a couple sitting in my row and the husband who was directly next to me felt so darned close I could barely breathe without sensing he could feel the very heat of my breath. Anyway I didn't want the dude to see my crying so I would read, look out the window and cry, read, look out the window and cry. The lights twinkling below just seemed somehow to make the whole thing that much more intense.
Flying at night over cities has always had this effect of me. Something about seeing so much life, so many people, the cars, the homes, the lit up pools and stadiums the freeways criss-crossing, the life. So much life, so many humans all doing what humans do. It just seemed so surreal to me on this particular night. How is it that we are all sharing this one space called Earth and yet we so often feel disconnected, so very lonely somehow? It was a strange sensation. The hum of the plane, the staring man next to me, the sad book, all the life going on below me and there in the sky-- one Patrice Karst for the millionth or more time wondering what she always wonders, " Just what are we really all doing here anyway?"
The flight attendants going up and down the plane handing out diet cokes and beers, the captains captaining, the over tired children fussing, their even more over tired parents scolding. Another page turns, another tear falls, and out the window another few hundred thousand beings coming and going in the night and I found myself even more confused than ever. How is it, I asked myself that there are so many people sharing this Earth? What at this moment as I looked below is really going on?
In that one moment, I knew that there were lovers loving and screamers screaming and lonely people switching from channel to channel all the while looking for something that they cannot ever find where they are looking for it and Patrice flying overhead who will never meet any of them, yet in this moment of flight, feeling an intimacy with them that was unexplainably real. My brethren below. My humans.
There was something about seeing Los Angeles as we approached and the lights that seemed to spread out below me endlessly that made me at once feel insignificantly lost in the giant sea of humanity while at the same time because of the unique state of being overhead that made me feel almost God like. Is this, I wondered what it is like for God? Seeing all His children as billions of lights below. A sea of humans spreading out as far as the eye can see.
I had a vantage point that looked so different from the norm of being in the thick of it. The view from above so distant, so voyeuristic, so sad somehow . Lonely. And still the man kept staring, and the pages turning and the tears falling. I imagined for no particular reason at all but because it just seemed like a good thing to do considering my mood, to work with sending vibrations of of love to the multitudes below as I flew on by. Wishing for the sad ones some comfort and the angry ones some peace, the hungry ones whatever they most hungered for.
I wanted so badly right then to call someone, a friend, my husband , my boy, and to tell them how much I loved them.
Because at the end that is always the default isn't it? The deep need to give and to receive and to share our love. I wanted to be hugged and held, and to hug and to hold. And still the lights twinkled and the man stared and the pages of the book kept turning, tears falling, my mind churning.
It was humbling and daunting at the same time to see just how many of us there were-- there are-- in just this one city of lights, this "city of angels". Who were, who are all these people? What were they all doing and thinking and feeling right now. I was so acutely aware of them but I'm sure none of them aware of me flying overhead. .
Something about being up in the air has always been a very reflective place for me- above it all. Probably why I have always loved tops of mountains and the vistas below. Somehow being above the fray and the frenzy, the commotion of life, has always brought me a sense of awe and an awareness of the freedom that I crave so much-- tonight though it was odd and sad and scary. So many many people and I just one of the pulsating masses who were in this moment just below.
When we landed the man next to me smiled and I sent one back to him-- He wasn't a bad guy-- maybe he too needed some connection. He knew I had spent the flight in tears yet nothing was said( thank God) he respected my need for things to remain unspoken. Yet when our eyes met a feeling of knowing, an undeniable moment of connection was shared.
Husband Mark picked me up at an over crowed LAX and we drove home -away into the night. As we drove along I looked up at a plane flying above and sent whomever might be looking down and feeling like I had just minutes before , a beam of light from this one particular being named Patrice.
We really are after all continually all just switching places aren't we? Just trading roles -- as above- so below could not have made more sense to me than at that moment.
I held Mark's hand and squeezed it extra hard on the drive home. I felt so good to belong to someone, to him. To be one of those millions of lights and to have one that I love so much to share my particular little spark with.