Sunday, August 12, 2012

Airplanes in the Night Sky

       It's late at night. Well, no its not. It feels late, and a lot of people are sleeping but in actuality it's about six o'clock in the afternoon. The stewards have retired to wherever it is they go in between the platter called dinner and the moist hockey puck called breakfast. About an hour ago the lights were dimmed and the balding middle aged man in front of me fully reclined his seat. They tell you to keep your window shutter closed around this time as to not disturb the other passengers [they mention nothing about seat reclining]. Silence permeates every inch of the cabin; my ears ring with boredom. My feet are asleep but the rest of me is wide awake.
      The stoic elderly lady to my left is facing the aisle, probably asleep. A quick glance around the cabin is as much assurance I need as I turn to my window and creak it open. I can't see anything. My fingers steadily and cautiously slide it the rest of the way up. 
      The sky is blacker than anything I've ever seen before. Another plane passes miles and miles away. The blinking lights move ever so slowly as it drifts further into the horizon. The islands below are awash with light: a concentrated center - the city - with a luminous path tracing it's way to the water's edge. No time passes at all as we glide over Tonga, Fiji, and smaller lands too exotic to identify. And oh, the stars. Spanning as far as the eye can see. Above, below, to the East and West: they shine bright and true. Standing in the center is the moon in all it's glory. Not quite full, it glimmers like a diamond in this darkness: a spectacular, unobstructed majesty. No clouds, no rising sun in sight. They say the middle of nowhere is the best place to view the night sky, and I suppose that's exactly where I was. 

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