I Almost Missed it by That Much!


I almost missed it.

Months ago, when I purchased my Seattle to Los Angeles plane ticket, I made a conscious decision to sit in a window seat on the left side of the plane. 

I wanted to see the magnificent Mount Rainier, but I almost missed it by that much.

When everyone got on the plane, all the window shades were down.  This wasn't a red eye flight with everyone wanting to catch some zzzzzzz's.  Nope, this was an in the daylight, arriving in LA as the sun was barely setting kinda flight.

And every window shade was down.

Along with everyone else, I got my earbuds out.  Plugged'em in and began scanning the screen that was inches from my face, getting a bit excited that I'd have movie diversion for almost the entire flight. My plans to read a book were but a faint memory.

Plus, the earbuds and flashing screen were like the Cone of Silence from Get Smart.  No need to have any conversation with the human sitting next to me.

When I was a kid, the pilot would have made an announcement when something of note was outside. "Ladies and gentlemen, if you look out the right side of the plane, you can see the Grand Canyon." 

No more.  No one is looking anyway. 

As Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone navigated a turbulent romance in Crazy, Stupid Love, something made me push up that window shade at the perfect moment. 

Mount Rainier was framed by my window. 

Stunning.  Huge. And magnificent. 

I imagined daring and fit climbers reaching the summit.  I remembered my childhood adventure on the mountain, reaching Muir Camp with my family and seeing Mount Saint Helen's in the distance when it still had the top intact. 

That's me at the Muir Camp on Mount Ranier!

That's me at the Muir Camp on Mount Ranier!

I snapped some photos, and then looked up, scanning the rest of the plane. 

I was the only person looking out the window.  

Everyone missed that magnificent mountain.

And everyone missed Half Dome, too. I could see waterfalls roaring in the distance.  I imagined my sister-in-law on top of that rock when she was a teenager, wearing a flimsy pair of borrowed shoes (if I recall correctly one might have even been mismatched?).  It's a great story because her non-hiking self has done a hike that I'd never consider! 


But, all the window shades were down.

Of course, all my fellow passengers are just ahead of the curve.  Windowless planes are the future.  It's not only because we're a plugged in society.  

...There’s a good reason for this proposed window-killing. Sticking windows onto the sides of planes means you have to bulk up the fuselage, which makes planes heavier, and bigger gas guzzlers. There’s a reason cargo planes don’t have windows.
— Brian Merchant

Ok...I can fly with those reasons.  Green planes that reduce resource use and carbon footprints are a good thing.

But, what about all we'll miss from a vantage point of earthly creation that's so gloriously high in the sky? 

Planes with windows give us a glimpse of our place in this world.  We are so small in the grand scheme of things.

And of this, we need constant reminding.

It's a humbling comfort I'd hate to lose. 

Always writing,