66 Heartland Under the Sky #1

(Image, March 2004 © 2005 M. Childers)

For most travelers, the airline magazine, an in-flight movie, a gripping novel, computer work or play, the headset music, or sleep take up the time passing between air terminals.

Here, at 35,000 feet, where the Earth’s atmosphere thins toward black, we would freeze in minutes and probably go into immediate hypoxia and coma for lack of oxygen even sooner were it not for the temperature-controlled, pressurized cabin that we scarcely give a second thought to unless something disturbs our comfort.

Fifty years ago, when flying this high became more common, the military aviators had to wear oxygen masks and pressure suits at these elevations. Seventy years ago no one in the entire history of mankind had ever witnessed the earth like this.

So much of what we would call stunning and magnificent in any other context is now available to anyone willing to simply look out the window. Having done so, I find myself constantly checking out the window for another glory.

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