These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

flying solo

so i'm back from texas. got into GR about 11 tonight. glad to be home and on the ground.

it was quite an experience for me to fly home for Mine's funeral services alone. it wasn't decided until last sunday that i'd be going alone. i didn't fight it. i knew we couldn't swing it so both me and dawn could fly down. so i succombed to it. plus, i knew it might be interesting because of smaller airports/airplanes.

claustrophobia be gone.

i left EARLY wednesday. flight left at 5:50. it was tough getting up by 3:30 to make it there. but only 45-minute drive. flew american eagle there and back.

there was no time for nerves. though the past times with dawn, it's been a piece of cake and quite enjoyable. but i was alone this time. and i had a layover in dallas before hitting corpus.

no matter. i knew i had to go. it was for Mine. couldn't miss it. flew out of Gr in darkness and arrived early in dallas. my layover was less than an hour and i had great help from american eagle staff all the way around, helping me onto and off of planes and taking me from gate to gate.

so i arrived really early on wednesday morning in corpus. it's the earliest i've been off a plane (or driving) that i've been home on a visit.

flight back was easy, too. a little bit of nervous while waiting to leave from corpus, but no biggie. just chilled. an hour later i was in dallas and then the three-hour wait for the 7:30 flight to GR.

time passed very quick. don't ask how or why. by the time i knew it, i was on the plane and off again.

that part of the trip was the best for me for various reasons. first, i loked out the window and saw the western sky. night was trying to catch the horizon. and it was winning. below us was a sea of clouds and we were gliding over them. it was beautiful to see the white turn to dirty gray as evening turned to night and clouds vanished under the guise of night. the horizon, too, changed from shades of orange and yellows to dull orange and finally black.

then something clicked in me. i thought of the fliight path. i realized we were going into michigan from dallas and not chicago. rationally, it seemed the logical route is over lake michigan. sure enough, the pilot said, "if you look to your left you can see chicago and then we'll fly over lake michigan."
crap! i have this fear of flying over water and then having the plane crash on the water. never mind the ocean, just lake michigan. scares me.

so here came chicago. beautifully lit city, huge yellow lights below. gradually, i saw a swath or strip where the lights ended in a curvy line, beyond, to the right, or east, was darkness beneath us. lake michigan. it was so awesome to see where chicago ended by the lake and where the lake began. i stared out the window for a long time, until i couldn't see the lights of chicago behind us. ten minutes later we'd crossed the big lake and i saw specks of light as we'd hit michigan soil underneath us.

the flying ended very pleasantly with the aid of a nice flight attendant who led me off the plane.

i guess flying solo ain't so bad.