Flying out of Las Vegas the plane made a long, slow turn to the east, for Albuquerque. I sat in 2A, a window seat on the left side, and watched as the ground gradually fell away, the works of man changing scale and becoming more abstract, the white lines of dirt roads like geometric scars on the desert surface. Hoover Dam slipped past, the sprawling lake it held back a deep blue against the naked rock that surrounded it.
The Grand Canyon followed, about the time the captain came on the intercom and in the chatty fashion that pilots have these days told us we were at our cruising altitude of 37,000 feet. A long way to go up, just to come down again an hour later. I studied the contours of the canyon, fractally serpentine, and thought of the rocks found at the bottom, a billion years old. A long time, no matter how you figure it. I started to get that feeling. The writer feeling.
It’s a peculiar sort of melancholy, hardly a sadness at all, that comes sometimes as a herald of change, a reminder that the world is in motion and so are we. It’s a feeling everyone knows, perhaps when you close the door and you’re alone in your new apartment for the first time, or when you say goodbye to a friend who’s moving out of town, or when you can’t sleep at night and the sound of the neighborhood turns mysterious, and the wind is whispering secrets of the past and future.
Saturday That Girl and I had a particularly good day, sharing a part of her life in a way neither of us had known before, and here it was Sunday and I was seven miles up, heading away from her at hundreds of miles an hour. Heading toward… heading toward an uncertain future, a future as a writer, a professional, part of a community of writers dedicated to working together to improve our craft. In just a few days I’ll be in Kansas, surrounded by the successful and the un-, talking shop and perhaps making connections and decisions that will affect the rest of my life.
It’s about time, after all.