It’s rare that I fly if I’m traveling in the US. And much more rare that I fly unaccompanied, with no children to squabble over who gets the window seat.
As a matter of fact, I’m an aisle person. I don’t like being pressed against the side of the plane, the vibrations of the air was we hurtle through it, massaging my arm to the point of numbness.
But I didn’t book this flight- nor did I even check my seat assignment as I boarded my flight. 28F.
Near the rear of the plane, window seat. Doing my best to make myself comfortable, I settled in, smiling at my seat mates when they arrived. They ignored me. But they ignored everyone, not even speaking to each other during the flight.
The heavily overcast day turned brilliant as the plane topped the cloud cover, the sun just appearing to rise over the shroud that, from below, felt oppressive, but now seemed nothing more than a blanket of freshly combed wool, comforting and cozy.
Closing my eyes, I tried to relax in my narrow seat. Not something I can usually do with two little ones to watch over.
And, it seems, not something I can do when I have no one to watch over. After an hour, and a few mindless games of Bejeweled and Sudoku on the in-flight entertainment system, I cautiously opened my window.
The mantle of clouds in the north had finally begun to fray at the ends, like a well- loved security blanket. In the distance I was able to see the Mississippi River, its serpentine path, winding lazily toward the Gulf of Mexico.
A patchwork of perfectly rectangular fields below showed half a dozen shades of green before wisps of clouds hid them from view.
Tributaries wound through fields and across rural roads making the newly harvested plots appear as giant mud flats from so far above.
As we begin our descent, about 30 minutes from New Orleans, I’ve lost sight of the Mississippi, which is far too my west, blending into the smoky blues of the distance. The tributaries have grown larger in their excitement to mingle with Old Man River.
Small farms marked by lines of buildings housing poultry or pigs, give way to more populated towns clumped along highway exits.
A large quarry seems cut from the edge of a forest before the thick trees break only to muddy patches of water, few roads visible in the lush growth.
The plane turns, southwesterly, I think, then a bit more.
No more roads are visible as small rivers cut through the bayou, a few houses nestled on their banks. Do these family’s have cars somewhere, I wonder? Do they take their boats to the nearest town? How do they travel farther?
The interstate is a series of bridges, miles upon miles of them, leading into NOLA, solid ground somewhere below the murky water.
As solid ground overtakes the swamp lands, bright blue swimming pools appear in back yards, not far from the huge barges that populate the largest seaport in the world.
And then, again, swamp land, the sun glinting off small patches of water between the dark green patches of land.
The plane lowers, coming in quickly over bridge-highway and bayou, too fast to snap a clear photo.
New Orleans. I have arrived.
If you made it to the end, thank you for reading. This narrative is not what I usually share here at Family Rambling, but the experience of flying, solo, and sitting in a window seat must have been an inspiration as most of these words came as I was enjoying the view from the window. The photos were all snapped with my phone as I tried to capture them before they disappeared.