Highway in the sky


One.  Two.  Four.  Six.  I spot six.


It's the morning rush hour to the East Coast.  I spot three planes tracking in a parallel direction, two opposite, and one crossing our path at a 30 degree angle.  Each pilot has been instructed to fly to a specific altitude in a neatly-stacked four-lane highway in the sky.


The sun has been nice this morning.  I've been lucky enough to receive a window seat portside - which means white light pouring through my window as we track northwest over Greenland.  The light is strong, warm, and unfiltered.  The reflection of the ice in my glass performs a mesmerising routine across my tray, much like the welcomed dance of a flickering candle in a dark corridor.


The sun's rays intensify as the minutes go by.  I don't want to close my shade.  I close my eyes and find myself transported to an empty beach at Laniakea.  The sun dries the ocean water off my skin, leaving tiny salt crystals behind.  The fast-pumping, well-lined rights are fun today.  It's 2-foot overhead and uncrowded.  I'm glad I brought my 6'1".  My mouth still tastes of Hawaiian salt.  Leila examines her collection of sea shells.  Over to my right, tourists are poking at the giant sea turtles sunbathing on the east end of the beach - just let them be.




The flight attendant repeats her question and I wake.  Chicken please.  Fish is too risky.  While I wait for my food, my attention diverts back through the window.


Five planes now in sight.  Of the five, one in particular catches my attention.  A Lufthansa, two-engine 777, driving in the lane next to us a few hundred feet below.  With our four-engine Rolls-Royce 747, we've not only caught up but are slowly inching ahead.  I'm reminded of a childhood car trip to Santa Barbara.  I remember sitting in the back of our station wagon, watching a family car in the lane next to us on the 101 highway...only to find the same family at the pool of the hotel later in the evening.


I look at the plane and wonder who is on that plane.  Where are they going?  Perhaps New York like we are.  What if we all end up in the same Terminal 7 immigration line, not realising that we've been on a parallel path for the past seven hours.  There must be somebody on that plane brimming with excitement to see the Statue of Liberty for the first time.


Lunch is here.


The planes on the four-lane highway slowly march ahead.