Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Government Shutdown: Furlough day 4 (amazing plane ride)

Wow.  I posted in my lyme blog from Seattle, hoping to catch a flight To Portland, en route to San Francisco for the Lyme rally protesting IDSA's protocols.

I made that flight.  On the flight, Across the aisle from me was an amazing woman with flowers on her hat.  She reminded me of a heroine from a novel. 

Mid way through the flight, i returned From the bathroom, and as i took my seat, she said she had two things to show me.

I think first she pointed out a mountain fairly near us, against a pinkening sky.  Then she said to look down.

We were directly over Mt. St. Helen's.  It took a minute to sink in that it was UNDER us, and how close it looked.  We were totality swept away from there.  The angle changed and we could see more detail. I remember a red rock on a cliff side that was shiny in the setting sun.  Closer to us, I started to see crevasses in the snow. 

There were several Side by side, all curved similarly.  It just struck me while typing this that it was a bit like a bunch of spirochetes in the snow.

Aft that point it became clear that we were circling.  It was amazing.  It also became clear that it was st. Helen's because we could better see the crater.  We were initially too close to make it out!  The mud slides and avalanche chutes were beautiful.  The color of the trees, which we were close enough to see, was the dusk-falling grayish shade you get when the sky is pink. 

The amazing woman in the hat with flowers was awestruck and thrilled.  We bumped from side to side of the plane and leaned over the empty front seats like a couple if kids.  She said from thine to time that they were doing it for us.  You could feel the gratitude in her voice.

The only other passenger out of their seat was seeking a good spot for a picture.  I was grateful i didn't think of the camera.  The pictures from where we were would have been amazing, but I'm very grateful to have been in the moment.  I got a few mediocre pictures after ward.

When it was over we talked about bats (and she was the one that brought up bays, having seen the book i was reading) and Barbara Kingslover.  I really can't do justice tho the kind of conversation it was.

She has 3 friends with Lyme, so the rally was part of our discussion.

But her story, in the few sentences she shared it in, blew me away.  She and her husband moved to Ecuador 8 months ago.  Then a month and a half ago, he died of cancer.  They only knew for 9 days that he had pancreatic cancer. As I remember it, they'd been told it was bronchitis.  She was returning to Portland to be with friends and family and have a memorial.

We were the first off the plane and she asked tho thank the pilots.  The attendant opened the door so we could.  We waited for our bags outside the plane and hugged and didn't notice the bags come and all get picked up.  The pilots looked down at us still on the run way talking and gesturing about the mountain views and we could see them chuckle.


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