Friday, April 16, 2010
Painters of the sky
Why I look up
London, ON, March 2010
The scene: I'm dropping our two youngest off at school when I notice the contrails overhead. London isn't the world's largest town - with 350,000 people living here, we won't exactly be attracting endless lines of long-haul 747s to our airport - so it's clear these planes are just passing through. The best we can hope for at our own so-called international airport is turboprop commuter planes making the 45-minute hop to Toronto and Detroit, and 737s taking snowbound Canadians to luxurious resorts carved out of the coastlines of otherwise impoverished nations. But I digress.
The morning and evening ritual of a sky filled with the slowly expanding vapor trails of high-flying jet aircraft is a fluke of geography - we live under a large number of converging continental flight paths - and atmospheric dynamics. And I'll never complain. There's something quite humbling about standing on the ground while this ever changing kaleidoscope of human-caused meteorology plays out miles overhead.
Not everyone gets it, though. As I stand beside the parking lot with my camera, other parents stop and stare. One takes a moment to ask what I'm doing, then shrugs when I tell her I'm watching the contrails. The rest just drive off, some shaking heads, wondering why Dahlia and Noah's dad is staring into space again.
There are days when I wish they'd take the time to enjoy the scene. But today's not one of them. For now, alone is a good place to be.
Your turn: Do you stare into space sometimes? What are you looking for?