There is no one on my lap. No small snoring head bobbing on my shoulder. I do not need to play tic-tac-toe with anyone, to soothe any small body, reassure, supply gum, fix headphones, offer food, a shawl, or any other tidbit of my soul-and-life-blood to another person, to bridge the gap between the pain in their ears and the thrill of take-off.
What a marvelously rare freedom, for me. I seize the opportunity to look around. The couple in front of me are middle-aged Old Believers. Both are gussied up in the finest of synthetic fabrics. The wife has on a classic West Coast sarafan, a dark brown background smothered with giant pink roses. Her hair is tucked tidily into an obligatory hot pink married-woman-headgear, threaded with some sort of sparkly silver thread that practically glows in the dark. I assume she sewed her husband's long rubakha herself: it is a lilac-pink, nearly the same shade as the roses on her dress, decorated with machine-embroidery roses all around the collar (how in the heck did she manage that, I wonder). I imagine them in caricature, like two face-cards in an Old Believer deck. They could be the Rose King and Queen.
Hovering in the air, I consider sleep. My mind races wildly, partly due to the latte I imbibed just before midnight, but also due to the fact that it registers that I Am Flying. As in: all of those flying-dreams we wingless primates are prone to, have come true for the moment. What do I do with this? I should be sleeping. I cup my head in my hands and lean onto the tray table, letting the sensations roll through me.
While we are airborne, my feet decide to wake up. With a sudden flash of bodily insight, my soles (souls) realize they are not near the ground any longer, so they, contrarily, decide to reach out and connect their energy with the planet, and I feel strangely rooted, as if I'm more conscious of the soil while in the air than I am while taking the first few tentative steps in bare feet in the Spring. I wish my feet could somehow share their wild wisdom with my goofily caffeinated brain.
The Old Believer pair stand up, ready to exit the plane. Himself is wearing a white satin sash, tied like a belt around his rubakha. His wife's sarafan, as is customary, is fitted just above her waist (practically speaking, this allows for the expansion of one's figure and makes maternity clothing unnecessary), which causes her bosoms to leap forward like a perpendicular shelf. I allow myself to be disappointed that Himself is wearing the most ordinary blue jeans under his festive rose-lilac shirt. Oh, well.
We have safely landed in Portland, not the most glamorous of airports. Hurrah! It is, oddly enough, carpeted. Perhaps this is an element designed to muffle the fact that the airport appears to be a series of giant hangars with skylights. Time to sample more caffeine, and to savor the unusual freedom of being able to Just. Wander. Around. Until it's time to shuffle onto the next plane.
|The most decorated section of PDX, so far.|
|This might be the tin can I am flying on to Bahston.|