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November 14, 2012

South and East of Newfoundland

The air, suddenly shifting and giving way beneath us, that sickly-sweet rollercoaster sensation of freefall flooding each and every one of us with sudden adrenaline and quiet anxiety — so very quiet, sitting there in the cabin, the engines still roaring strong and loud and all those bodies, numbered and aligned in deep shadow, the world muffled behind earphones and the welcome distraction of flickering images on a tiny screen

as if by holding our tongues, by refusing to give voice to the nervous airs fluttering from our lungs, straining for release like monarchs from a coccoon, we might outwait and outwit these twisting capillaries of jetstream and find ourselves returned, whole, steadfast in our relief and ignorance, to a smoother passage across the

infinite grey-blue expanse of North Atlantic, somewhere beneath and beyond these rows of shuttered shades and blankets of sheet metal and fiberglass, a landscape of open air and open sea and great hidden beasts, waiting in the depths, somewhere in the gardens of splintered shipwreck and bones of forgotten birds

whose wings had once stretched far and free and rippled - feathers hollowed and smooth and elegant against the marbled sky - across the wind like waves of muscle and intent, fleeing one world for another, chasing the light across the world toward a horizon brilliant with the promise of dry land and warm hearts, the sweet relief of gravity's steady pull and

the engines straining, pushing strong and loud and the nose rising before us like a new dawn, struggling to pull us clear of this swift current, this riptide drawing us deep into the swallowing sea, these shifting and surging waves of clean, cold air

this world a mad rush of motion and ascent, of shadows soaring across the sky

these mad jitters, the darkness jumping and tumbling around us, belts holding us secure as the tiny hairs at the back of our necks rise, unbidden, with each eyeblink-quick drop in altitude before something - something - catches hold and again we are climbing

hand over hand

across the waters, against the clouds

struggling for purchase as the winds, again and again and again, seize hold and shake us - relentlessly, savagely, joyously, a three-year old child with a tin can filled with bright copper pennies trying to mimic the sound of the rain, the tumble of thunder, the chaotic rhythms of these thin airs where the light begins to bend and the curve of the earth becomes clear, visible - and our seats are dropping beneath us and we are rising, as if to stand a bit taller and peer over the top for a glimpse of

distant green — like a promise, a whispered prayer for the continents to drift just far enough in all these long moments stretching from the far end of the ocean, so that we might see and find comfort in the knowledge of St. John's, the theory of Sydney, the gentle fictions of Halifax

and around me, I see them all, my friends and fellow pilgrims, their heads bowed in penitence and contemplation at the fickle shifts in arc and velocity and the flickering whims of images on tiny screens

mine, darkened, lifeless and broken before me

and I watch as they watch, mouths tipping back in silent laughter and beautiful women with cascades of blonde hair and hands, holding, one another and maps and measures of time and distance and a symbol that seems a small white bird slowly moving across the blue - the new world, my world, so tantalizingly close -and the

world drops away beneath us, again

and I cannot help but exhale  - "Oh!' I say, as though I have discovered something important and sad - and I close my eyes and wish the time away and think of

you

your small hands holding mine, the mad and heady rush of your unfiltered laughter, your huge eyes - blue and brown and grey, your mother's eyes, my eyes, your own - and the wild tangles of your hair and the careful words I said when I'd kissed you goodnight before I'd

crossed the world, and crossed back again into these long moments somewhere deep in the horizon, fighting my way across the sky

and the sea and the slowly spinning earth, grey and blue and infinite and forever.



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