Fifty Thousand Foot Level
I flew to Nashville a few weeks ago to attend a tradeshow. When I got the final agenda and learned I wouldn’t have to stay through tear down, I changed my flight to one immediately following the close of the show. It meant a late night and a late drive, but life revolves around the farm now. I have living things to tend to.
Thanks to my sensitive bladder, I rarely choose a window seat when I fly. My people-pleasing ways are fading, but I still cringe at the idea of inconveniencing seat mates to use the bathroom. Because of the last minute change, however, the window was my only option save a few dreaded middle seats sprinkled throughout the plane. It meant I could lean into some shut-eye before my drive as well, so I clicked the blue square and sealed my bladder’s fate.
The flight didn’t depart until nearly 8 p.m. The clouds were beginning to glow the soft pink of cotton candy as we ascended to our cruising altitude. By the time we penetrated the translucent layer and leveled off, the view out the window was unrecognizable.
We were on another planet.
One where soil was replaced by soft waves of cloudy ocean that glowed a deep purple. One where mountains were replaced by billowing towers of well-formed mist. No cloud shape was the same. One jutted out flat like a shelf while others climbed high into the sky like impossibly stacked cotton balls.
The sun cast striated layers of color that resembled the red rocks of Sedona. Much like sunsets on Earth, every time I thought it couldn’t get more beautiful, it did. New shades of orange and pink revealed themselves. Every few seconds would reveal new peaks and valleys.
As much as I wanted to be present, I also wanted to remember and share this moment. The world needs beautiful things right now. I hit record on my phone and filmed as we floated across this incredible cloud world.
Finally, as the ethereal landscape began to give way to the night sky, I saw a glow in the distance. I was sad for the beauty to disappear into the darkness, but the nearly-full moon sealed the experience nicely.
I am grateful for that choice and that flight, even though I arrived home well past my bedtime. Those few minutes of bliss and awe were worth it. They exposed me to a different point of view than I will ever be able to see from the ground. They reminded me about perspective.
Life feels like a freight train running at breakneck speeds right now. I have experienced an unbearable amount of anxious moments over the last month. The adage “so much to do, so little time” feels wildly appropriate.
While in Nashville that week, I had lunch with a friend who reminded me about a motivational book by his friend Bo Eason. I downloaded the audio version and began listening on my trip to Arizona this week. Far different than the cloudscape, it still offered a similar reminder.
All of this hard work, with seemingly never-ending tasks and preparation, is to create an outcome that is part of the bigger picture. If I imagine myself back on that plane, staring out the window at fifty thousand feet, I see the farm. I see women gathered who need to feel better about themselves and their impact on this world. I see animals and plants thriving. And every few seconds, I’m surprised by unexpected beauty that wasn’t even part of my original vision.
Life will be about getting in the weeds sometimes. The details, the mess. I can choose to let the overwhelm control me or I can remind myself that I’m simply rolling up my sleeves and getting shit done. This view, this flight, this book, are reminding me to focus on the latter. As the sign next to my coffee pot reads, the world needs who I was made to be.