Opinion: Taking in the view


In recent years, I’ve moved my preference from the often more convenient aisle seat to one by the window. It had been my firm belief that being able to stand up quickly upon landing, and to expand my too-large-for-airplane-seat frame into the shared space of the passageway, made up for being assaulted by fellow passengers carrying handbags that could pass for suitcases hitting me in the head as they made their way past. In addition, I thought that having quick access to the bathroom was worth excusing the other travelers who needed to escape the row at some point.

So now, I visit the men’s room before departing and squeeze myself in next to the curving fuselage of the craft. However, with these adjustments, one gains the world. From the window passing below are the sapphire waters of the Florida coast, the vast breadbasket of the plains, and the majesty of the snow-capped Rockies. Each had been unnoticed by me – in my own eagerness to maintain control over my surroundings, I found that I was missing much of the beauty of the world around me. But the miles high perspective also brings consideration as it brings awe.

Views of extensive urban sprawl and ever increasing density raise issues of land use. Views of the retreating water levels of Lake Mead, an important reservoir of fresh water for Las Vegas and much of the southwest, suggest questions of conservation and the immediate dependency that we humans exhibit for our own convenience. And, views of much of the Midwest makes one pause at the agricultural abundance produced by so few for so many.

Deception is easy from 30,000 feet. Little is exactly as it appears. Yet from above the clouds, one is reminded that deception is also perpetrated at street level.