Saturday, March 23, 2019

The View From Above

They say that you gain perspective from looking at the big picture... it's akin to your vantage point from an airplane:

As a creature of sleep, I don't see as many sunrises as I'd like. I certainly don't see many aboard a plane, with the horizon shoulder level. In fact I know this was my first sunrise from a 10-seater plane.

I watched the sun peak it's yellow-gold sphere over the horizon while taxiing... it's amazing how fast that fiery ball rises.

Once in air, feeling the warmth on my face from the sun rising on my window to the right, I was seeing aerial vistas that certainly give you perspective.
Flat lands of the Midwest.
Farmlands of bounty, readying for Spring planting.
Wind farms as far as the eye could see.
5 wind farms total along the trip, & hundreds of wind turbines by the time the trip to Chicago was completed. Spinning slowly in the wind du jour, as far as the eye could see. Standing tall and proud doing their daily sun salutations.

Aerially, the view struck me with awe. It also left me proud, as I saw this Midwest home that I love as a symbol of what our country could and should be. What our planet could be.

America could lead--if we wanted to. Unfortunately it feels like we are enmeshed in a Marty McFly Throwback (from Back to the Future I for you young'uns). Some would rather us be back there, to where Marty travels, back in the 1950s.

It led me to think of our technological timeline (not hard for a Lower School Tech Specialist who lives in a land where innovation is always in the foreground of my job.) To be in this little 10-seater plane, sitting RIGHT behind the pilots in that first row, and thankful for where technology has brought us over time. We can cross states in a matter of hours, versus the dozen hours it takes me to drive. It reminds me too of my real and virtual visits to Computer History Museum and where we've been over the last 2000 years. Seeing the 20+ dials, gizmos, gears, and navigational gadgets--while defying gravity--it puts it into perspective of how far we have come, thanks to technology.

Even more so when looking below at the landscape and knowing what's below in farming, industry, transportation, and businesses (in all those tiny buildings below.) Even more so as I entered the suburbs and then city limits of Chicago, seeing 1-2 inch building that tower above you when walking on the sidewalks below them... all beside the vast Lake Michigan.

I marvel at life here in 2019.

Likewise, I smile as I think of the precious cargo I'm transporting on this trip: my circa late-'80s prom dress as a joke for my soon-to-be-prom-going daughter. (An antebellum dress I know that she won't wear, but was so typical, back in the day.) I found myself pondering the changes and advancements over the years from the my-prom to her-prom span. I can project forward and marvel in amazement as to what the world has in store between her prom and my one-day/some-day granddaughter's prom. So many things we have yet to even imagine.

As educators, we are preparing students for jobs that don't yet exist. That statistic whispers (or screams) the words of Thomas Friedman's book Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations. It's exciting ahead--despite how exponentially-fast the world seems to be spinning and catapulting forward.

It's ironic too, that the observation and inspiration for this blog post stems from both the novelty of being 1 of 5 people (along with the 2 pilots) on a 10-seater plane (while sitting directly behind those pilots), with a literal bird's eye view out the front window of the plane, feeling like I'm right there in the cockpit. Moreover, this all came after "powering down" my phone completely.

It's in the quiet that the magic happens. The dichotomy of the rectified world comes in the fact that it is only in powering down do we look up.

Who knew that seeing a total of 5 wind farms from overhead would make me wax so philosophical? No matter, I'm grateful for the magical insight it gave me under the warmth of the rising sun.

Sunrise prop image from my camera and all other photos from , and

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