It’s hard to imagine a time before flight, but at the same time flight itself feels really miraculous.
At the Wright Brothers National Memorial in the Outer Banks there’s a bronze statue of the launching of the Wright flyer. From the top of the hill overlooking the scene its hard to tell the difference between the bronze figures and the people looking at the statue, so that they all look like little figurines.
From the human-scale intimacy of family life yesterday, I wanted to contrast at the other extreme: the irrigation-induced circles of the central United States in an otherwise barren landscape. Particularly as spring (and photosynthetic life) begin to dominate the countryside, I wanted to reflect on the role of humans in that transformation.
Flying high above Brazil, I got a feel for the strange contrasts of the country. Over the interior, I saw mostly mountainous jungle and farmland; as we neared the coast (as in today’s shot), I got to see more of the urban side of modern Brazil. In the southern part of Brazil, where the climate is Mediterranean (much like California), the same pattern of “intense urbanization adjacent to vegetation-carpeted hills” seems to predominate.
I’ve always abhorred airports. Actual air travel, if dull, is typically calm and uneventful. Airports are Purgatory-on-Earth where stressed travelers worry and fuss and cope with the imminent delay and cancellation of their flights.
Still, if I have to spend time in an airport, Chicago’s Midway is probably my favorite. It has by far and away the best selection of overpriced food (Potbelly’s sandwiches! Pegasus gyros!) and an at least tolerable amount of seating. In its own way, Midway is not entirely un-beautiful.
While down at the marina recently I caught a glimpse of this guy, who had apparently found something interesting or perhaps tasty and was taking it somewhere a bit more private to enjoy. I was actually surprised at how well I could capture that moment just before lift-off, the intricate dance that birds do before they take to the skies.