Friday, May 18, 2012

West to Meet the Dawn

(We interrupt our regular program to bring you these pictures. Check back tomorrow evening for episode 11 of Night Shot.)

On a day very recently, I started out here…


…and ended up here…


How does flying this route seem the second time around? Not too bad, but not quite what I expected. It’s hard to say what I did expect from my trip last year, but the second time around I had a better opportunity to notice the little details, from the way the plane tilts up at takeoff to my improvised apple-juice level as I watched the plane’s flight angle change from cruising altitude to descent.

The world looks strange from the sky, high above the house centered between four baseball fields like the heart of a four-leaf clover, and the parking lots lined with tiny orange inchworms that can only be school buses.

And yet, in the brief transit through airports, I found myself flashing back to my trip in the opposite direction last fall. As I came in through the gate I left then, I caught myself looking for the camera I lost there, as if it might be waiting for me after seven months.

But it wasn’t, and by morning I was once more landing in Alaska—only it wasn’t morning. It was still the day before. I don’t usually see 12:05 AM, but that time, I saw it twice in an hour. This is Alaska at midnight (or very close to it):


And from there, back to the mountains…


…the first (for a second time) sight of the lake from the air…


…and some old friends from last year, in a place where it is still barely spring.


The moral for writers: Don’t try to write the story before it happens—it’ll be much more interesting if you just sit back and watch it.

The moral for everyone else (to borrow a quote): “It's a dangerous business—going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow! What an amazing place to get to see twice!

Love you, Mom

Andrew Engel said...

Your last picture ... is... upside-down.

And I approve the creative method of finding the climb angle of the plane.

Have a great summer! (How's that for - well, I won't see you but enjoy yourself anyway?)

Audrey said...

Thank you, Mom and Andrew! I'll keep in touch over the summer.

But, Andrew, the photo is not upside down. If you look in the upper left corner, there is the faint, but quite distinct image of a house. Were I to rotate the photo 180 degrees, the house would most certainly be upside down. Therefore, the current configuration--as you would say--is the correct one. It's water, not sky, that you're looking at.

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