Submitted by megan on Tue, 05/05/2009 - 21:57
You ever have one of those mental growth spurts?
Like you've gone along for a while and everything's pretty normal, up and down normal, and you're responding to things like you normally would, maybe trying to be a little more conscious in your decisions or something, but just going along and then suddenly, pow, and it feels like your plastic brain is in the process of being molded into a new shape?
There are a few things going on in my life, both its internal and external incarnations, that I'm not blogging about. Some of it is none of my business to blog about, though it affects me pretty strongly. Some of it is stuff that is still so cacophonous inside my head that it gets tangled up in my fingers when I try to write. Some of it is that I am trying to be 4 parts patient, 1 part kind, and 5 parts cautious.
There were a few minutes on the plane back home, not too far outside Ottawa, where I could see the ground. Not out the window, but with my eyes closed.
I have a few rituals for flying. The first of which is a glass of tomato juice, which I don't like when I'm on the ground. With ice, which I am a little afraid of when I am on the ground. In the air, for some reason, I find them both very comforting.
Mostly what I do on airplanes is listen to This American Life and play solitaire on my ipod. I can, I discovered, do this for hours. Hours. Game after game after game after game. I'm mildly satisfied when I win, I like the neat cut of cards across the felt green, but mostly I don't care. I just like the swirling and the clicking and the tiny cards hopping around on the tiny screen.
But sometimes I get motion sick. I've gotten good at being able to tell when it's coming on, and that's why I like solitaire. If I feel the oog, I don't care about cutting out in the middle of a game, I'll notice it right away and stop, won't try to push through to the end of the chapter or the end of the show. I'll close my eyes and tip my head back, rolling it slowly from side to side and breathing deeply till the oog goes away.
Just before Ottawa, I let my head come to rest, the oog having abated, and that's when I saw it. The ground, rushing underneath, in a green-brown grey-tone streak. Under where my feet were. It was a strange sensation, though not awful.
It felt true in a dream-like way: I am flying, and there is the ground. Through the metal and air and luggage and metal and clouds and tens of thousands of feet. I am flying above it, of course there it is.
I opened my eyes. The ground was gone. I took a sip of tomato juice, watery now from ice melt.
When I closed them again, it came right back, that streak under my feet, the dreamy acceptance that I could see the impossible.
Doing the dishes tonight, thinking about the story I want to write for the reading at the end of the month, how it is my story and someone else's rushing beneath my feet, I could feel a funny squiggle-shift in my head. In the middle of the right side, if you drew a pencil 6 inches up from my ear and drilled in not very far.
That's my brain, I thought, of course there it is.