Monday, May 21, 2012

thought i'd write a quick piece while i was on a dallas to st. louis flight, window seat, toward the back, with a baby shrieking behind me. fields and rivers passed below me; i guess this was arkansas or maybe we are in missouri already since they've already served peanuts and a ginger ale and it's really only about a what, hour and a half flight or something like that. there's supposed to be an eclipse tonight but i forgot and got on the wrong side of the plane; i'm not sure i could have taken the time to calculate that out and figure out which side to get on, based on which way the plane will be going, when you've got a b52 boarding pass number and people are taking all the good seats in front of you. i saw this window seat and grabbed it and forgot all about the eclipse, nobody had mentioned it. when we started up the pilot mentioned something but by then it was too late; every seat was taken, we were about ta take off. in fact they had sold one seat too many and had to beg someone to take a later flight in return for the price of a one-way ticket and a hundred dollar bonus; some guy took them up on it and i couldn't help but wonder if his luggage would arrive in st. louis at the same time he did.

so my question about a solar eclipse is this: isn't it true that an eerie glow comes over the world as we know it during an eclipse, and scientists and everyone else advise you not to look directly at the sun, because that will always hurt you even if a big honking moon is sitting there blocking part of it. but an eclipse is just that, right? and i can see, flying with some turbulence over some eerie orangish clouds down to my right, that we could be settling in for a time of eerie glow and genuine half-dusk. the baby is keeping up with his or her merciless wailing, it could be that a baby's ears hurt during an entire plane flight, and he/she just has to let us know how hard it is to maintain, while flying over arkansas. or wherever.

the pilot now says that we are but sixty miles from saint louis, but we have encountered some storms which are the cause for our turbulence. above the clouds to my right, the sky was a heavenly blue but has now turned to a dullish gray; the clouds were a bright orange but have now turned to a dullish pink, and the world below, which is now presumably missouri, is a dull blue. the question is really whether all this is due to a storm or whether it is due to an eclipse; try as i might i can't get a glimpse of the sun out the windows across the aisle, though i can see it cast a glow on the seats over there and i can also see that glow turn to a dull color as everything on my side has done. it's becoming dark, and becoming dark rapidly as the sun is apparently going down, eclipsed or not. the baby has for some reason given up his crying though not without a fight; he was quite adamant there for a while.

on the last flight, el paso to dallas, i sat with a british woman who now lived in denton texas and was quite happy to see her lakes below as we circled dallas and came down upon it. all of wide dry texas splayed out beneath us but as we came into dallas certain lakes came into view and she seemed to know which they were. now, coming into st. louis, it's actually raining, and the memory of a hot dry trip to texas and new mexico, where even a drop of rain causes all kinds of cacti to burst forth, now everything is hidden, you can't even see the sun, or moon, or anything else. the rain is everywhere; i'll miss it, when i move.

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