I have had some ugly flight delays recently. I got some practice complaining. I always say I don’t mind traveling by air, it’s sitting in airports I don’t like. Well–some airplane seats aren’t so good either.

But there is another side to the story.

Some airplanes look beautiful, if you look up from your phone.

And then, up in the air, flying west and south – the sunset slows down and spreads out. Smoke reaches in long billows up from fields being burned off. The MississippiĀ River winds below in coiled loops, a giant serpent. Spindly lines fret along the river, trying to keepĀ her forever in the same sprawl. But the wide prairie spreads in either direction, and there is nothing to stop the river.

Sometimes, up in a plane, you see a mystery revealed. It is not a thing unknowable by men, but it is a thing hard to see that in ages past men might spend many years in the learning. Sometimes from that great height you can see it–borne up on the labor of other man’s hands, lifted by the thought of other men’s minds, looking down at other men’s lives. Oh the mighty Mississippi, she is not tamed by our thin rules.


I have never yet seen a beautiful flight delay. Maybe someday. It’s a big world.