A Traveler

I boarded my flight for the trip home from the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference Sunday afternoon. The conference itself was excellent, and when I gather my thoughts I’ll post about it.

For now, however, the images from the travel are so bright in my mind I want to share them. The air was clear, so clear that I could see the earth beneath us. At first, it wore the golden to dun color of Denver’s dried grasses, though for contrast, around some farms, there were enormous circles, in whole or in part green with cultivation and looking like geometry problems waiting to be solved.

As our flight path continued, the yellow and dun below became huge expanses of brown earth and grayed green grasses punctuated by black pools–ponds or perhaps lakes, distance makes it difficult to be sure–demarked as much by clusters of trees and bushes as by their perimeters, still green for the availability of water. Rivers cut wide, sinuous swaths through the brown earth, snaking through the landscape, and at one point I thought huge chalk cliffs or great walls of glacial ice flanked them, but they were cloud banks.

Much of our route was vast, open space, like the pioneer America of 200 years past that I envision. There was so much land, no homes or farms to be seen, and though it appeared as square and rectangular swatches that demarked ownership, they more reminded me of the jigsaw puzzles of my childhood than of private property.

When I glanced out of my window some time later, I was surprised to see the window sprinkled with tiny, sand-like grains of ice. Beyond, the distant sky was royal blue above, fading through sky blue and turquoise to pale aqua at the horizon. Below that aqua, the rainbow hues of sunset yellow and then orange settled into deep rose, all supported by orange lumps of marshmallow clouds interspersed with what must be empty space, air tinted lavender gray.

Time passed. I gazed into empty space and thought how fascinating it was for the air to wear such a lovely hue. What gave it its color? Below us now, a forest of clouds, some singular as individual trees, shot through with gray. It was neither dusk nor twilight yet, but my eyes began to play tricks on me.

As we approached New York City, the sky finally grew dark, and the city streets lit up like orderly rows of diamonds reflecting sunlight. We circled Manhattan. The East River crossings sparkled with garlands of lights like irridescent pearls–the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan, Williamsburgh Bridges, the 59th St. Bridge, Triborough, Whitestone and Throggs Neck Bridges. It was good to be home.


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