Today Bob and I flew to Seattle. The day was overcast and for many hours we flew over a silver carpet of clouds. Only toward the end of the flight was Earth visible through a layer of damp hazy air. We descended, pivoting around the mountain, the constant in an ever-shifting view, occupying a realm of time distinct from the more hospitable and busier regions panning below.
The lower regions gladden my heart in a way that the mountain view doesn’t; human habitation has shaped them in countless ways. The difference of the two makes for a silent aerial meditation.
We arrive. My mother-in-law’s death two days ago hangs over this familiar journey. To visit her, we have flown this flight many times. She was scheduled to move into assisted living tomorrow but instead went to sleep last Friday night, slipped into an unconscious state the next day, and died twenty-four hours later without reviving.
We are here to pay our last respects and absorb the truth of her passing away. The weather is glorious, the scenery majestic, yet but a footnote to the enormity of one mortal loss.