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Welcome to the online blog for traveler/writer/photographer Steven Barber. Come in. Relax. Take off your shoes and socks -- or any other article of clothing, this is the internet. Have a look around. I hope to intrigue, amuse, entertain, and maybe provoke you just a little. I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Ad Astra

On a painted sky
Where the clouds are hung
For the poet's eye"

                                 - Neil Diamond

I fly a lot. Easily hundred of times in my lifetime. Thirty flights this year alone, ranging from 40 minute regional hops to cross-country hauls. In the past -- and upcoming in the next six months -- intercontinentally.

You would think this would have caused me to become very blasé about flying. And while airport terminals have certainly lost their luster and wow factor for me, I am still excited by airport operations (watching the aircraft move to and fro) and the airline industry itself.

I am reminded of this because as I write this entry I am aboard a short haul flight from Minneapolis to Kansas City. It's a relatively empty aircraft, giving the assorted passengers our own rows for the most part. I move from the aisle to the window and get a momentary thrill by looking out the window as we taxi and then take off. It is something I've felt since childhood, and isn't present on all flights. But often enough for it to be fun and different.

It's an early morning flight, with a heavy misting rain that contributes a mysterious overcast to the Tarmac (shades of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, perhaps?) (Or maybe Bogart and Claude Rains?) It's very cool and alluring.

After takeoff, I am treated to one of my all time favorite views as we ascend out of the clouds. I am facing east. The sun is barely up, casting a bright thin red-orange glow against the horizon's cloud cover. It's magnificent. Were our ancestors of two hundred years ago able to see this scene it would invariably invoke their perception of heaven and it's hard not to argue.

The flight settles in to more of a routine. Coffee, reading, a game or two on the iPad, and a wee bit of turbulence...but it's hard to escape the leftover sense of fun and adventure of the first few minutes. I was a kid again, experiencing flying from a more innocent, less jaundiced perspective.

Yes, I've flown hundreds of times. But sometimes, every once in a while, I'm reminded what it's like to truly experience travel.

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