Thursday, May 31, 2012

Looking Up

..... this morning, from the pool, I saw two military fighter planes (where is Big Cuter when I need him, he who could identify all sorts of these things pre-pre-school?) flying in close formation. 

.... this afternoon, typing to you at my desk, I am watching a helicopter make its second revolution between my house and the Pusch Ridge.

.... this morning, raising my eyes from the keyboard, I saw a hummingbird drink lustily from the yuccas along the pathway. 

.... at noontime, in the car with TBG on our way to lunch with A+ companions, there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

.... yesterday, on the way home, nearing our neighborhood , enduring a new-and-unneeded road expansion project, we were greeted by a crane towering twenty thirty forty-stories really high overhead.

That's just twenty-four hours of upward observations.  I don't remember doing much of that when I was young; there just wasn't that much up to look at.  Houses were closer together and so were the trees.  The sky peeked out between rooftops and cloud cover and rarely held anything more riveting than a Europe-bound aircraft taking off low and to the east from Idlewild Airport on a Sunday afternoon. 

We knew those things the way kids in Marin knew which were the harrier hawks and which were the red-tailed variety.  They flew overhead with some regularity; after a while, the information was just a part of you.  I liked to watch the clouds go by, lying on my back on the front lawn, alone or with a friend, finding circus tents and whales and watching them dissipate into nothingness. 

As a rule, though, looking up was far less interesting than looking straight ahead or down into my lap.  There was always a storefront or a human or a book to be encountered.  Wide open spaces never entered into the equation.

Our vacations were long road trips, kids in the back squabbling over who got to sit in the middle atop the suitcase.  We headed to destinations - Monticello, Lake George, Southampton, Boston - and considered the journey only insofar as it meant turning another page in the AAA TripTik.  I liked to open the maps and see the details, reading about the gently curving terrain.  I don't remember actually looking out the window at the gently curving terrain.

Daddooooo drove looking up more than looking at the road ahead.  It was not unusual to see his head sticking out the window while his hands were on the wheel.  If something interesting happened to be up there, he was going to see it.  I know that a higher power kept us alive; Daddooooo's driving had absolutely nothing to do with it.

But Daddooooo was interested in anything and everything and if nothing interesting presented itself he pretended that it had.  Following his eyes meant engaging in his personal space... a space filled with knowledge and facts and data and information ad infinitum.  There was no escape.  Looking down was safer.

Moving to Chicago, living on the 11th floor with an unobstructed view to the west of the city and its suburbs, I began to realize what I had been missing. 

I began to look up.....

4 comments:

  1. It's hard to not look up where I live. I literally live five miles from Dulles Airport. We see planes all the time. We have contests with the kids when we are in the car. Is it taking off or landing? We also try to see what airline the plane is part of.

    Because we live so close to Dulles Airport, we were able to see the Space Shuttle really well last month. Check out this pix hubby took from his office: http://www.flickr.com/photos/doodelbugstudio/6941408932/

    The other day, we saw a military helicopter and sometimes we even see Marine One.

    Looking up is good. :)


    Megan xxx

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  2. The other day when Pres Obama was here in the SF Bay Area we got to see lots of sky-activity: Air Force One, unmarked planes, choppers... It was really cool. We don't often get that kind of stuff happening here so we looked up a LOT.

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  3. How fun! I was worried that this post was just a bit too precious but my readers never fail me :) LOVED the pic, Megan
    a/b

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  4. That was beautifully written. But dont forget that daddoooooo looked down too, at the cobblestones :)

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