I feel a certain disconnected joy when I'm in transit miles above the earth. A blissful detachment. And traveling alone compounds it: I am responsible for no one and nothing. I surrender myself utterly to the pilot. I am beyond reach.
And if I have, as I did Thursday, a window seat and a clear day, all the better. Factor in the camera ? I was in heaven. The world, so far below, became otherworly. Even if Manhatten island retained its semiotic, cartographic familiarity, distance and light transformed it to a dark city with a silver halo.
A town like a mandala.
A neighborhood densely embroidered with houses. A sandy tract like a taut cloth where more will be stitched.
Coast. The dynamic interface of sea and land. Perpetual revision.
Two fragile human spans.
What was that strange underwater fold ? An unexpected speck shows up in the photo. I enlarge it. The pixels unpack, bloom. It's a person in a rowboat.
I landed, then ascended again into my parents' wintertime seaside eyrie.
I looked down off the balcony. Fifteen flights up. I felt the usual frisson of vertigo, and backed away. What if... and I could...
The imagination -- envisioning, willing -- can be a terrible thing.
I put the camera down. There was a 35mm lens on my digital Nikon, practically equivalent to a film camera's 50mm "normal lens." It's the focal length that most approximates the field of view of the human eye. It had been a long day. A long, vertical day.
Tomorrow, proposed my Dad, we'd visit a botanical garden.
I'd bring my macro lens. That would balance things out.