sunset from the plane








The warm pink band stretches over the horizon, the light radiating through the row of windows. Towards the center of the band the color changes to glowy-orange where the sun once was, like embers in our fire pit. My mind replays the trip I leave behind and marvels at how every little detail fell into place, despite my anxiety’s best efforts to disrupt the flow. A few songs crept in during the visit—from the radio or muzak or the trio at the reception—reminding me of other happy memories. In the flow there’s room for the perfect drink, meal, and show. Before boarding the plane, it was chardonnay, a cheeseburger, and the Cardinals game on the TV at the airport grill by my gate. A just-right send-off for me.

Though your mix of perfect ingredients is different than mine, I know you have those moments, too—when it all comes together and you wonder how it did and then you know, you just know, that an unseen hand is holding you, and if you just get the hell out of the way it’ll see you safely home. All the flailing parts blend, and this rippling band of threads we call life somehow weave themselves together, and all the hard work and not knowing and the doing it anyway and the love that pours out of a poor broken heart all merge and somehow it fits.

I don’t have any more answers than I did before, but I just know. The pink horizon fades to midnight purple below, and the craft slowly descends, and two men next to and across the aisle from me make the sign of the cross and kiss that fragile cross in their hands. And I know I am held. I lift my tray table to its full, upright, and locked position…and I know by some miracle of physics this plane will touch down, and I’ll sleep in my own bed, and tomorrow that pink-orange combo will reappear on the other side of the horizon, and I’ll know. I’ll know that even on the darkest of sunny days there’s a hand that holds me, steady and sure, and teases me with the sunset, or my ball team, or a wisp of a song. And I know all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well. (T.S. Eliot)

Wheels down.

Welcome home.

I might also have called this “Travelin’ Prayer”, but Billy Joel grabbed that one: