Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

Posts Tagged ‘aboard a plane

Hey Indy!

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Many people hardly look out the window when they fly, but I make it a point to request a window seat and watch the landscape below as we cruise along.

I want to know where I am an I enjoy seeing places where I once lived and/or know.

I was en route from Cleveland to Phoenix aboard a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 when the captain said we were over Muncie, Indiana.

At the time, there was a cloud cover so I couldn’t see anything.  But I kept looking and soon the clouds parted and I was able to pick out Indianapolis, a city where I lived in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

That is the White River meandering just west of downtown.


Written by csanders429

June 9, 2017 at 3:31 pm

My Reason For Being Here is Out There Somewhere

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My flight to Phoenix is less than a minute from landing at Sky Harbor International Airport.

I’ve never lived here, but have visited enough to recognize that we’re flying over the north edge of the campus of Arizona State University.

Somewhere out there is the reason why I’m on this plane. My father, sister, brother-in-law and niece all live in in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

We once all lived in east central Illinois, but now I’m the outlier of the family because I live in northeast Ohio.

My Dad has an apartment that looks out on those mountains in the distance.

We’ll land, gather our luggage, pick up a rental car and drive to his apartment to see it for the first time. Another visit with family in Arizona is just getting underway.

Flattened Mountain Top

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I was flying to Phoenix and we were somewhere either over New Mexico or Arizona. The terrain beneath the plane was clearly what I think of when I think of the West, rugged looking and mountainous.

The top of this mountain caught my eye and I had to photograph it.

It appears to be a mesa, which is a elevated area of land that has a flat top and steep sides, often cliffs. Going by that definition, what I saw appears to be a mesa.

Yet what intrigued me about this geographic land form is how smooth the top appears to be. It is as though the top of this mountain has been sheared off and then smoothed over.

I see no evidence of roads, trees or any other evidence of human existence. But maybe that is because I’m viewing it from well up in the air.

I fly to Phoenix twice a year to visit family and always get a window seat and have my camera ready. Every flight seems to reveal another out of the ordinary land form from my perch high in the sky.

Last Light of Day Turns a Mountain Red

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My flight from Cleveland to Phoenix would be over soon. The Boeing 737 was descending as we made our approach into the Valley of the Sun.

I couldn’t see the sun setting from my side of the aircraft, but I could tell by the light on the wings that it was sunset time.

We glided the Superstition Mountains, which are located east of Phoenix and a popular place to visit.

The late day light had the mountains alternating between light and shadows. The peak nearest me must be one of the highest  because it was reflecting the most light.

The warm late-day light has turned the rocks a reddish color.

I don’t know what that lake is it the distance, but given that this is a desert it seems an odd sight to see.

In looking at a map, it appears to be located on the San Carlos Reservation and I may be looking at Pinal Peak.

The light was fading fast and within a few minutes I would be on the ground and off into the darkness of night.

Finding Nostalgia In the Clouds

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Back in my high school days we used to watch NFL games on TV on Sunday afternoons at my grandmother’s home in suburban St. Louis.

One of the commercial sponsors of the broadcasts was American Airlines. One commercial in particular sticks in my mind many years later.

It was an era when airlines heavily promoted their in-cabin meal service. The commercial I remember featured a song sang to the tune of the classic Moonlight Bay.

As a female voice extolled the virtues of American’s in-flight service, there were scenes of people enjoying what appeared to be sumptuous dining, probably in the first class cabin, as the plane flew above the clouds.

I’ve long forgotten the lyrics of the song in the commercial except for the tagline at the end, “Make yourself at home the American way.”

The commercial appealed to me at the time because I wanted to be able to fly. I had done it once, liked it and wanted to do it again.

But I lacked the money to pay the fare and where would I go? I was in school and had no reason to travel.

So I hung onto that commercial, which offered a glimpse of what it must be like to fly long distance.

My grandmother’s home was located beneath the departure path of southbound and westbound flights departing from nearby Lambert Field.

Hearing those jets roar overhead during the games just added an exclamation point to my desires. Were those lucky souls aboard those flights about to have the same pleasurable experience that the airline commercials portrayed?

My Uncle Harold, who flew periodically on business as part of his job with the Chrysler Corporation, told me that airline food was nothing special. Maybe so, but I craved a lifestyle that included air travel.

Since those years, I’ve flown multiple times, including on long-distance flights with meal service.

My uncle was right about the food not being particularly special, but for years I thought it was great to be dining more than 30,000 feet in the air.

I’ve never had a job that required regular air travel and in the past 15 years I haven’t done any business-related travel. Between 2005 and 2014 I never flew at all. That was fine. I did enough flying to get it out of my system.

Then my Dad moved to Arizona and now I fly there twice a year to visit him.

It is a long distance from Ohio to Arizona, four hours from Cleveland and nearly that long from Columbus.

There was a time when a flight that long was expected to have meal service appropriate to the time of day. But those days are gone.

Now you are fortunate to get a small bag of peanuts or pretzels. Want to eat? The airline might sell you a meal. Air travel can be a hassle in ways that it wasn’t years ago.

I made the photograph that accompanies this post in April 2016 while flying from Columbus to Phoenix.

There was something about this view that brought back memories of those long-ago Sunday afternoons watching commercials for American Airlines at my grandmother’s home.

Interestingly, I made this photo while flying on American Airlines. From way back in the coach cabin I was able to see through the curtain separating coach and first class.

I noticed a flight attendant holding what appeared to be a bottle of wine. On this flight those willing and/or able to afford to pay first class fares received dinner.

Was it as sumptuous as those meals shown in that American commercial of years ago? I don’t know. I’ve never flown in first class.

As we sailed along over New Mexico I gazed out the window and was reminded of another reason why I wanted to fly way back when.

There is something about being above the clouds that is peaceful. From high in the sky the world appears to be a simple and orderly place.

It’s not and I know that now in ways that I didn’t appreciate or understand as a teen. Yet it still appears to be what it’s always been from up above.

I still like that about flying.

Bird’s Eye View of Suburban Sprawl

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PHX April 12 06

It was early evening when my flight to Phoenix reached the Valley of the Sun. Since my Dad moved to Arizona in May 2014 I’ve been flying to Arizona twice a year from Ohio to visit him.

So the view as on final approach to Sky Harbor Airport is starting to look familiar.

The sun is about to set everything has that late day light warm glow to it unless it is encased in shadows. From up above, it looks so neat and orderly.

As far as I can see, though, is row upon row of suburban housing with some mountains in the distance. It is those mountains that suggests that this is the West and not another Midwest city.

It is not home but it is beginning to have a home-like feel.